A US Airways flight operated by Piedmont Airlines with 34 people aboard made a belly landing at Newark International Airport last night after its landing gear failed to lower.
Terrified passengers managed to escape the plane unharmed after the plane’s pilot – named by witnesses as Edward Powers – performed a heroic emergency landing.
Video footage of the turboprop twin-engine plane coming down on the runway showed a dramatic shower of sparks flying from its underbelly as it scraped across the tarmac, however, miraculously no fire was started.
Emergency workers on the ground doused the plane in foam as a precaution but it became clear that the actions of the quick-thinking pilot had saved US Airways Express Flight 4560.
Problems emerged as the Dash 8-100 plane operated by Piedmont Airlines, which was carrying 31 passengers and three crew members, came in to Newark around 1 a.m. having left Philadelphia two hours earlier.
Pilot Edward Powers was unable to fully lower the plane’s landing gear.
US Airways pilot makes belly landing at Newark airport as 34 terrified passengers escape alive after gear failed
Circling in the air several times the pilot repeatedly tried to lower the gear but to no avail.
The pilot then realized it would be necessary to raise the gear completely and make a belly landing which would give the plane a good chance to come down safely and lower its chances of veering off the runway.
He then continued to circle – dumping fuel to lower the risk of a fire.
On their safe arrival the passengers were evacuated to the terminal by bus.
The relieved pilot and his two crew members posed for a picture alongside the foam covered aircraft.
A spokesman for US Airways said they are cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board which is investigating the incident.
He also paid tribute to the work of Edward Powers.
There has been no reported disruption at the airport although one runway remains closed as investigations continue.
A Boeing 767 flying from Newark operated by Polish LOT airlines made an emergency landing at Warsaw airport today.
The aircraft, which was flying from Newark, New Jersey, with around 230 people on board made a belly landing at Warsaw’s airport on Tuesday after reported trouble with landing gear.
Captain Tadeusz Wrona radioed ahead to let the control tower know there was a problem with deploying the landing gear. After several attempts, however, it was decided that the aircraft would have to come down without any wheels.
While the plane circled the Warsaw for an hour, dumping excess fuel and repeatedly trying to solve the problem, ground crews prepared for a crash landing, closing the airport to all other flights and clearing nearby streets. Fire crews also sprayed the runway with foam in a bid to prevent a fire from breaking out.
Captain Tadeusz Wrona lifted the nose of the aircraft slightly as it approached the tarmac. As it slid along the runway, smoke billowed from the undercarriage followed by bright flashes from under the engines. When it came to a halt, fire engines that were waiting along the sides and at the end of the tarmac rush towards the plane, dowsing it with foam.
Meanwhile, passengers are quickly ushered off down the inflatable chutes on either side. News channels and TV crews were on the scene soon after learning about the impending disaster and the incredible landing was beamed live around the world.
Nearby streets were cleared and a landing strip was especially prepared at the airport for the crash landing. Staff worked hard to find a technical solution to the landing gear problems while in the air, but eventually had to try to land.
It was reported that nobody was injured, passengers or crew members.
Leszek Chorzewski, spokesman for the Polish national flag carrier LOT, the aircraft operator, said:
“All safety procedures worked perfectly fine and, thanks to this, nobody was injured.”
A Boeing 767 flying from New York operated by Polish LOT airlines made an emergency landing at Warsaw airport today
Polish television footage showed the plane landing on its belly, with a few sparks flying as the craft hit the runway which had been covered with flame retardant foam.
There was no blaze reported but firefighters hosed the plane with water and foam as a precautionary measure.
LOT aircraft passengers were evacuated from the plane, which had circled above Warsaw before the crash landing. Warsaw airport remained closed for all other flights.
Warsaw airport has been closed until 8:00 a.m. on tomorrow. Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski congratulated and thanked the pilot, Captain Tadeusz Wrona, and the rest of the crew for their successful landing.