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Gatwick: Virgin Atlantic safe landing after plane develops problems with its landing gear

By Peter Woodman

A Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet has made a dramatic, but safe, landing at Gatwick airport after developing a landing-gear fault.

Flight VS43, bound for Las Vegas, touched back down at the West Sussex just before 4pm.

The Boeing 747 jumbo jet returned to Gatwick after developing problems with its landing gear.

The aircraft circled repeatedly between Gatwick and the South Coast apparently to burn off fuel.

According to eyewitnesses, one of the five landing gears on the Boeing 747 jumbo jet had failed to deploy.

Virgin said: "Virgin Atlantic can confirm that flight VS43 on December 29, travelling to McCarran International Airport Las Vegas, returned to Gatwick due to a technical issue with one of the landing gears.

"The aircraft is preparing to implement a non-standard landing procedure at Gatwick airport. A further update will be issued as soon as possible."

A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: "We can confirm that Virgin Atlantic flight VS043 which departed Gatwick Airport at around 11.45am is returning to Gatwick after the aircraft developed a technical fault.

"In line with standard procedure, emergency services are on standby at the airport purely as a precaution."

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was on standby at Gatwick following the alert.

A Gatwick spokesman said: "There is a Virgin Atlantic aircraft looking to return to Gatwick."

Eyewitnesses reported that the jet was flying at a relatively low altitude and that the pilot appeared to be trying to shake the landing gear down.

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