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Wed, Aug 03, 2005

737 Down: Afghanistan

Emergency Landing Damages Runway At Secretive Base Camp

A Boeing 737 operated by Ukraine's Aerosvit Airlines made a rough emergency landing Tuesday at a secret air base in Afghanistan, causing extensive damage to the runway and forcing its temporary closure.

The flight crew aboard the 737-300 reported they thought they'd blown a tire on take-off from Dubai, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. When the aircraft landed at Camp Mirage, somewhere in the Persian Gulf, the undercarriage apparently dug a deep gash in the pavement.

No one aboard the aircraft was injured, but there was no immediate projection of when the damaged runway would be repaired.

The closure forced about 150 Canadian forces who were set to rotate home to delay their departure from Afghanistan by several days. Several other Canadians were also affected by the closure.

The exact location of Camp Mirage, a Canadian logistics base, is supposedly a closely-guarded secret. However, senior Canadian military officials are fairly open about the fact that it's located in the United Arab Emirates south of Dubai.

FMI: www.forces.gc.ca

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