Landing Gear Malfunction Leads To 69 Passengers Evacuated By Inflated Chutes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Investigators remained on the tarmac at Newark Liberty International Airport late Monday night trying to figure out what happened to United Airlines Express Flight 1524 in the crucial moments before landing.

Something was clearly wrong with the plane, which had taken off from Atlanta. Its landing gear got stuck and was unable to deploy. The pilot was left with no choice but to land the plane on its nose, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

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“I would like to go ahead… at this time,” the pilot is heard saying on air traffic control recordings.

1010 WINS Reporter Al Jones spoke with passengers…

It was a harrowing time for all 69 passengers on board, including an infant and four crew members. It was just after 6 p.m. when the pilot noticed a landing gear indicator light was on. The pilot requested a flyby to make sure it was actually stuck, and then made an emergency landing. The passengers exited the aircraft by inflatable chutes and no injuries were reported.

Other air travelers had to circle, or otherwise wait and watch on the tarmac.

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“It looked in trouble, tilted down close to the ground,” said Mary Ann Strandell of North Bergen, N.J.

All the runways at the airport were closed for about an hour. There were no arrivals and no departures as Newark Airport stayed at a standstill. Travelers were delayed with little explanation, except for a few announcements that something was wrong.

“Said there was an emergency landing, sit here for a couple of hours, but it was probably and hour till we got to the gate,” said Katherine Baron of Somerset, N.J.

Newark firefighters were dispatched to the scene, but found no smoke or fire aboard the plane. The entire airport was closed shortly after the landing occurred, but two runways reopened around 7:15 p.m.

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