230 safe after emergency landing in Warsaw
WARSAW — No one was hurt when a Boeing 767 flying from Newark, New Jersey, with about 230 people on board, made an emergency landing at Warsaw’s airport on Tuesday after trouble with landing gear.
“All safety procedures worked perfectly fine and, thanks to this, nobody was injured,” said Leszek Chorzewski, spokesman for the Polish national flag carrier LOT, operator of the plane.
Live television footage showed the Boeing craft landing on its belly, with a few sparks flying as it hit the runway covered with flame retardant foam.
There was no blaze but firefighters hosed the plane with water and foam seconds after all the passengers had been evacuated.
“I thought I would feel like we were hitting the ground violently, but then we felt [the plane] touching the ground and that was it,” said one of the plane’s passengers, Krzysztof Rozycki.
LOT said the hydraulic system responsible for operating the wing flaps and the landing gear failed, and a backup system worked only for the flaps — forcing the emergency landing after the plane had circled for nearly an hour above Warsaw.
Other passengers spoke of fear and total silence during the landing. “There were tears, there were tears,” said Hubert Waz.
Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski said he would award state decorations to the crew of the plane after briefly talking on the phone to the pilot.
“To all those involved, I say thank you with all my heart,” Komorowski said.