July 5, 2005

Angkor Wat airport closed after Vietnam Air skid

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - A Vietnam Airlines Airbus 320slipped off the runway at Cambodia's Siem Reap airport onTuesday, forcing the temporary closure of the gateway to thefamed ruins of Angkor Wat, officials said.

They said the aircraft slid off the runway as it turned totaxi to the terminal after landing in heavy rain, but all thepassengers and crew were taken off without injury.

Vietnam Air official Toan Nguyen said there were 90passengers, mostly European tourists, and eight crew aboard.

The airport would have to remain closed until the aircrafthad been moved.

"We've closed airport operations until we solve thisproblem," Deputy Aiport Director Mao Sopheap told Reuters bytelephone from the northwestern city.

There was no immediate word on how long it would take tore-open the airport, through which many foreign tourists passon their way to and from Angkor wat, impoverished Cambodia'smain tourist attraction.