Belfast Telegraph

Airport emergency jet lands safely

A passenger jet carrying 175 people was forced to make an emergency landing when its wheels failed to retract on take off.

The problem with the landing gear on the Thomas Cook flight became apparent moments after the Airbus A320 left Belfast International Airport.

The pilot of the Tenerife-bound aircraft alerted passengers to the issue before circling Lough Neagh for almost two hours to lose fuel. The holidaymakers were instructed how to brace themselves for an emergency landing.

The plane landed safely at Belfast International with no injuries reported.

Full emergency procedures had been enacted at the airport with a fleet of ambulances, fire and police vehicles going to the site, around 20 miles from Belfast city, when the alert was raised.

A helicopter from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was scrambled to examine the undercarriage from the air. The aircraft was able to taxi to a stand when it landed and passengers disembarked without incident.

A Thomas Cook spokesman said a replacement jet would take passengers on to Tenerife.

Uel Hoey from Belfast International Airport said emergency stand-by procedures had worked well.

"We practise for these things twice a year, it's the kind of thing unfortunately in the aviation industry you have to practise for endlessly hoping that nothing transpires. From the point of the view of the airport and the external emergency services everything ran as expected when the alert was set in train.

"We are glad it landed without incident and was able to taxi to the stand."

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