Added by Gary Dunn on November 1, 2011
A LOT Polish Airlines 767 carrying 231 people from Newark, New Jersey to Warsaw Poland crash landed without its landing gear after all three landing gear struts failed to deploy as it made its final landing approach to the Warsaw airport on Monday. No injuries were reported and the pilot is being hailed as a hero.
The pilot of flight LOT 16, a Boeing 767-300ER, told passengers via several announcements about four hours into the flight that there were technical problems. The pilot radioed ahead to tell the Warsaw control tower that there was a problem with the landing gear. Several attempts to lower the landing gear while in a holding pattern around Warsaw airport were unsuccessful, and the pilots of two F-16 fighter jets confirmed that the plane’s landing gear did not deploy.
The pilot and officials decided to land the plane without its landing gear. Airport officials closed the airport to all air traffic as flight LOT 16 circled the airport, dumping excess fuel. Fire and other safety crew on the ground sprayed the runway with foam to prevent a fire when the plane landed. Many nearby streets were closed as a precaution.
Passengers said that the landing was not hard as the pilot lifted the plane’s nose just before it started to slide along the tarmac. Although passengers were prepared for the crash landing, many say they became alarmed when they saw sparks and black smoke rising from the plane as it skidded along the runway.
As the plane came to a stop, fire crews doused the burning engines with foam to prevent the spread of fire as passengers escaped using the emergency chutes.
“All safety procedures worked perfectly fine and, thanks to this, nobody was injured,” said Leszek Chorzewski, spokesman for the LOT Polish Airlines.
Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski congratulated and thanked the crew and emergency workers for ensuring no one was hurt. “I thank everyone with my whole heart in the name of Poland,” said Komorowski.
Warsaw airport has suspended all flights until Wednesday at 8am. Flights are being diverted to Lodz, Gdansk, and Krakow.
An Iran Air Boeing 727 arriving from Moscow on October 18 made a similar emergency landing in Tehran after its landing gear failed; none of the 116 passengers onboarad were hurt.