Boeing 737 forced to make an emergency landing after wheel explodes

The FlySafair flight made a ‘screeching’ landing back in Johannesburg

Natalie Wilson
Thursday 25 April 2024 10:21 BST
A Boeing 737 made an emergency landing in South Africa on Sunday, 21 April, after a wheel came off shortly after takeoff.

A FlySafair Boeing 737 was forced to make an emergency landing in South Africa after a rear wheel exploded during take-off.

The flight delivered by the low-cost South African airline took off from Johannesburg and was to fly two hours to Cape Town on Sunday (21 April) when engineers noticed one of the plane’s four rear wheels was missing.

Video footage of the incident showed a cloud of smoke surrounding the FlySafair flight as the aircraft touched back down followed by a loud bang.

The damage was noticed by ground staff when the pilot passed low over the airfield before the plane was ordered to land back on the runway at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

FlySafair said in a statement: “FlySafair regrets to confirm that flight FA212 from Johannesburg to Cape Town was required to return to Johannesburg following a concern regarding damage to a wheel during take-off.

“Flight FA212 adjusted course back for Johannesburg and entered a holding pattern near Parys in order to burn off some fuel to lighten the aircraft for landing.”

The “nature and cause” of the tyre damage are now under investigation by the carrier’s technical teams.

All 178 passengers and six cabin crew were safely evacuated and deplaned without injury and a backup aircraft made the journey to Cape Town several hours behind schedule.

Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer for FlySafair told The Independent: “We extend our thanks to our customers for their patience and understanding through this process and to our crews both on the ground and in the air for managing this issue with the utmost control and care, exemplifying our commitment to safety above all else.”

Boeing declined to comment on the emergency landing and told the New York Post that FlySafair maintains its own fleet.

It comes amid a string of similar incidents on Boeing aircraft and safety concerns over manufacturing quality.

Last month, a United Airlines Boeing 777 was forced to make an emergency landing in California after a tyre fell off midflight and damaged several cars in a parking lot in San Francisco.

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