South Africa’s Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has commended the Captain and co-pilot of a Metroliner, operated by African Skies (a South African Charter Company), as well as the emergency services for their role in ensuring a successful emergency landing at Lanseria Airport in Gauteng yesterday (Sunday, 13 June 2010).
“We want to commend the Captain and crew of the Metroliner, as well as the emergency services and all other stakeholders, for their role in ensuring a safe emergency landing at Lanseria Airport
,” said Minister Ndebele.
According to initial reports, a chartered Metroliner 19-seater turboprop took off from Lanseria Airport with 13 passengers and two crew on the way to Polokwane. On the approach to Polokwane, the crew determined that there were problems with the undercarriage.
They decided to return to Lanseria. They flew around for about an hour to get rid of excess fuel and then completed a “wheels-up landing” – where the plane lands on its belly. The emergency
landing took place around 11h30, with emergency services in attendance. The plane was damaged during the landing but the passengers and crew were unharmed.
The plane carrying journalists to a World Cup match made an emergency landing yesterday near Johannesburg, sending sparks flying as its belly flopped along the tarmac, an airport spokesman said.
All those on board the flight escaped unhurt, including a group working for the Al Jazeera network, who were on their way to cover Algeria’s match against Slovenia.
Mike Christoph, operations manager at Lanseria airport, located to the northwest of Johannesburg, said that the pilot had had to bring down his plane after experiencing problems with its undercarriage.
“After take-off, it realised that one of its undercarriage wheels was malfunctioning,” said Christoph.
“They spent about an hour in the air, circling the airport trying to resolve the problem, going through the normal procedures, and couldn’t get it right. So they elected to land without wheels on to the runway.”
The chartered plane had been heading for the northern city of Polokwane where Slovenia eventually ran out 1-0 winners over Algeria.
Thembisa Fakude, executive director of Al-Jazeera for Southern Africa, confirmed that all the team who work for the network’s sports service escaped unharmed.
“They are all safe. None has been injured,” he said. “Of course they were afraid, but now they are all fine.”
Fakude said that some of them had found alternative transport to Polokwane where they managed to cover the match.
The chartered plane had 16 people onboard, including two crew, added Christoph.
The Accident and Incident Investigation Division of the South African Civil Aviation Authority cleared the removal of the aircraft after initial investigations were concluded. The airport
was operational again by 13h3o yesterday.