TOKYO (AP) _ A plane caught fire and split into three parts on landing at an airport in northern Japan, and 18 passengers were slightly injured, officials said.

The Japan Air System DC-9 on a flight from Nagoya in central Japan caught fire after an unsuccessful landing at Hanamaki Airport, about 270 miles north of Tokyo, said Naomi Fujii of the local fire department.

Fujii said 18 of the 72 passengers were taken to hospitals with light injuries. The five crew members were unhurt.

The fire was put out after about an hour. Television footage showed most of the plane's body was gutted.

A strong wind was blowing as the plane was landing, apparently causing it to tilt to one side, said Masao Kikuchi of the police department in Iwate Prefecture (state).