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Dec 30, 2014

04:30:04 GMT--Vehicle Incident - Europe - United Kingdom

EDIS Number: VIV-20141230-46489-GBR

Date / time: 30/12/2014 04:29:12 [UTC]

Event: Vehicle Incident

Area: Europe

Country: United Kingdom

State/County: England

Location: Gatwick [Gatwick Airport]

Number of Deads: N/A

Number of Injured: N/A

Number of Infected: N/A

Number of Missing: N/A

Number of Affected: N/A

Number of Evacuated: N/A

Damage level: N/A


Pilots, planes and passengers face an evening of disruption following an emergency landing at Gatwick. The airport's single runway is expected to be closed for at least two hours after a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 returned to the Sussex airport for a "non-standard landing procedure". The Jumbo jet, flight number VS43, had taken off at 11.44am for the 5,200-mile flight to Las Vegas, with an estimated 450 passengers on board. It is believed that the flight crew became aware of a problem with the landing gear soon after take-off. The aircraft flew circuits over southern England while burning fuel to reduce its weight, and made two low-altitude passes over Gatwick for visual inspection of the undercarriage. The aircraft landed safely shortly before 4pm, with emergency vehicles in attendance. Passengers disembarked via steps after about half-an-hour. Nick Hughes, a passenger on the aircraft, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "They gave every opportunity for the landing gear to open, but unfortunately it never did. "Initially they didn't reveal everything to the passengers. After we'd circled a few times you got the sense things weren't quite right. "The actual landing was one of the softest landings I'd ever had. The crew were exemplary." The airport tweeted: "Virgin flight VS043 landed safely, the aircraft is being reviewed and passengers are disembarking. Check with your airline for flight delays." The aircraft was being inspected on the ground before being towed away. The runway will also be checked for debris. A spokeswoman said it was unlikely to re-open until 6pm. Gatwick is the busiest single-runway airport in the world, with up to 900 departures and arrivals per day. It is the busiest base for easyJet, Britain's biggest airline by passenger numbers. The airline told waiting passengers: "Due to the emergency landing of a Virgin aircraft in London Gatwick this afternoon, the airport is currently closed. A number of our flights will be delayed as a result. Some of our flights that are airborne will divert to nearby airports and our customers will be taken to London Gatwick by coach."

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