'Scary but we made it': Damaged plane makes emergency landing in Madrid after circling for hours to burn off fuel

Boeing 767 flight to Toronto aborts after piece of landing gear enters engine

Peter Stubley
Monday 03 February 2020 22:45
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Air Canada flight lands safely in Madrid after 'part of landing gear fell into engine'

A Boeing 767 with 136 people on board has safely made an emergency landing in Madrid after circling an airport for four hours with a faulty engine and a burst tyre.

The Air Canada flight to Toronto contacted air traffic control about the problems 30 minutes after taking off from the Madrid-Barajas airport in the Spanish capital on Monday.

It was forced to burn off fuel to lighten the plane before safely landing at the same airport – to the relief of all 128 passengers and eight staff on board.

“Pretty scary rough landing, but we made it,” said one passenger who had tweeted photos of flames and smoke shooting from the left engine.

Brock Mierzejewski, who was on the flight to Toronto with his parents, said: “We are still in a little bit of shock but glad to be safe.”

“Obviously a lot of nervous tension while we were in the air, but the pilots did a terrific job landing the plane,” he added.

The plane was quickly surrounded by emergency vehicles, firefighting trucks and ambulances when it came to a halt on the runway.

Spain’s air navigation authority, Enaire, said the plane’s landing gear did not fold up properly on taking off and that a piece of it may have fallen off and into an engine.

Spain's defence ministry dispatched an F18 fighter jet to evaluate the damage before the plane was allowed to land.

Videos of the plane circling less than a kilometre over Madrid were posted on social media by residents.

Air Canada said in a statement that the plane circled for four hours “to use up fuel and lighten the aircraft for a safe landing” in Madrid.

“The aircraft, a Boeing 767-300, is designed to operate safely on one engine and our pilots are professionally and fully trained for this event,” the airline added.

Air Canada said there were no reported injuries and indicated customers would be provided hotels and rebooked on other flights.

The incident occurred just hours after a drone sighting near the takeoff area at the airport caused a brief disruption, with 26 flights diverted away from Barajas.

Additional reporting by agencies

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