A Boeing 767 with 231 people on board made an emergency landing Tuesday, skidding down the runway on its belly at Warsaw airport after its landing gear failed, a spokesman for Poland's LOT airline told AFP.
Fire and ambulance crews were deployed and all 220 passengers and 11 crew on the plane of national carrier LOT Polish Airlines were able to disembark safely.
"The Boeing 767-300 with 220 passengers aboard travelling from Newark (in the United States) made a successful emergency landing after its landing gear failed to deploy," LOT spokesman Leszek Chorzewski told AFP.
"The plane landed safely on its belly on the runway which had been sprayed with special flame retardant substances. All the passengers disembarked, no one was injured," Chorzewski added.
Raw video footage of the emergency landing aired within minutes of the event by Poland's TVN24 news channel showed the plane skidding down the landing strip on its belly in a splattering cloud of white foam.
Sparks appeared from the jet engines on its wings as they scraped the runway. After it stopped, passengers exited the plane using inflatable emergency slides to the runway where emergency crews were waiting for them.
Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski thanked the crew, particularly the pilot, for the safe landing and hailed passengers for their "efficient cooperation at a very difficult moment."
The pilot, identified as Tadeusz Wrona, had 20 years of flight experience on Boeings in addition to his background as a flight planner.
"He managed the landing perfectly," LOT chairman Marcin Pirog told reporters.
Wrona circled the aircraft near Warsaw for over an hour, to burn off excess fuel stocks before the landing.
Two Polish F-16 military fighter jets escorted the plane in line with routine procedures, an air force spokesperson told the Polish PAP news agency.
Warsaw airport has suspended all flights until Wednesday morning in connection with the incident.
An Iran Air Boeing 727 arriving from Moscow made a similar emergency landing on October 18 in Tehran after a landing gear failure. None of the 116 passengers were hurt.
(c) 2011 AFP
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