Flight VS43 Makes Emergency Landing In U.K. On Only 3 Landing Gears [Video]

Virgin Atlantic flight VS43 made an emergency landing at London’s Gatwick Airport after the pilot noticed the landing gear was stuck. The Boeing 474 was still able to land without doing a belly-flop, but the pilot had to manage with only three landing gears deployed. Fire trucks and ambulances were present at the scene, but no injuries were reported.

According to USA Today, flight 43 left Gatwick airport in London at 11:45 a.m., en route to Las Vegas with 447 passengers and 15 crew members.

Shortly after take off, the pilot noticed the problem with the main right landing gear. He initially tried to “shake it loose” by accelerating forward rapidly while at low altitude, but to no avail. He then made the decision to circle back and make an emergency landing.

Virgin called the emergency landing a “non-standard landing procedure,” but some of the passengers were not particularly reassured. One passenger described the situation to the BBC.

“The staff were trying to keep everyone calm but a few passengers were a bit panicky. One of the crew came out to the seating area to reassure everyone everything was going to be OK. The staff were giving out thing like drinks and water to everyone to make sure everyone’s OK. Generally, the mood was pretty good at this point until we hit the brace position.”

Another passengers said the mood was “anxious, a lot were worried, some crying. The mood was quiet, just waiting for the captain’s next announcement.”

The pilot was forced to circle above Sussex and Devon for four hours in flight holding patterns (shown below), while dumping enough fuel to make the plane light enough for its emergency landing.

The 13-year-old jet finally returned to Gatwick. The landing was smooth, although inconvenient for the passengers onboard and waiting in the terminal.

One passenger, Mike Kaufman, said, “This was one of the greatest emergency landings in history. It was very smooth.” Later saying that it was “textbook.”

While technicians evaluated flight 43, other planes were diverted to other local airports and departing flights were delayed, sometimes severely.

Flight 43 passengers were provided hotel rooms, but they still don’t know when they will be able to finally make it to their destination in Las Vegas.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger made an announcement after the emergency landing.

“I understand that this will have been a very upsetting situation for the customers involved, and for their friends and family, and will have significantly disrupted people’s holiday plans. We will make sure they are well looked after this evening, and will be operating a special flight tomorrow for everyone who would like to continue their journey.”

Video of the VS43’s emergency landing can be seen below.

[Image Credit: Adrian Pingstone/Wikimedia Commons]

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