The pilot of a Flybe passenger plane that crash landed with no nose gear after taking off from Belfast airport has been praised for avoiding a fire or serious casualties.
The flight to Inverness carrying 52 passengers and one infant set off shortly after 11am, but the pilot quickly noticed a problem with the nose gear.
The aircraft spent two hours circling 3,800ft above the Irish Sea to burn off fuel before making the emergency landing.
One person on board was taken to hospital for a minor hand injury following the crash, the airline said in a statement, adding that there were no further reports of any other passengers or crew injuries
Firefighters were on standby at Belfast International Airport but said “no action” was required.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch sent a team to the airport to investigate.
“Flybe can confirm that there has been an incident involving one of our Bombardier Q-400 aircraft, flight no BE331 which landed with no nose gear in place,” a Flybe spokesperson said.
“The aircraft departed from Belfast City at 11.07 local time bound for Inverness. The incident occurred at Belfast International Airport at approximately 13.30 local time.
They said they were sending a specialist team to Belfast to “offer assistance” and they “will do all we can to understand the cause of this incident”.
The British Airline Pilots’ Association lauded airline staff for managing to land the plane. “Landing without a nose gear is a very difficult manoeuvre, but one pilots train extensively for,” they said.
They added that Flybe’s “pilots appear to have done a sterling job”.
There were delays at the airport in the aftermath of the crash landing.
An airport spokesperson said: “A Flybe flight from Belfast to Inverness declared an emergency and landed at Aldergrove at about 1.20pm today.
“The airport is still open and full emergency procedures have been deployed.”
A spokeswoman for Antrim Area Hospital said the passenger had since been discharged.
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