SAN JOSE, April 8 — A cargo airplane broke up during an emergency landing in Costa Rica on Thursday, in an accident that provoked the temporary closure of the international airport in San Jose.

Smoke was billowing from the bright yellow plane of German logistics giant DHL as it ground to a halt, having slid off the runway when it spun and broke up around the rear wheels.

Two crew members aboard were “in a good condition,” said the chief of Costa Rica’s firefighters, Hector Chaves.

Nonetheless, the Guatemalan pair were sent to hospital as a precaution “for a medical check-up,” according to Guido Vasquez, a Red Cross worker.

The pilot was shaken up but both crew were conscious and “remember everything vividly,” added Vasquez.

The accident happened just before 10:30am (1630 GMT) after the Boeing-757 plane, which had taken off from the Juan Santamaria international airport outside San Jose, was forced to return 25 minutes later for an emergency landing due to a mechanical failure.

The crew apparently had alerted local authorities to a hydraulic problem.

The airport was closed until 6:00pm. — AFP