MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A Virgin Atlantic flight headed for Las Vegas from Gatwick on Monday made a safe emergency landing after developing a problem with its landing gear, and being forced to circle Gatwick for three hours. The incident, which was experienced by 447 passengers and 15 crew members, is just one of many cases in recent memory where a possible aviation catastrophe was avoided and all those on board survived the plane’s landing.
Lion Air Boeing 737: April 2013, Bali, Indonesia
All 108 people on board the Lion Air Flight 904 escaped without serious injury when the Boeing 737 they were travelling on crashed into the sea off the coast of Bali, having missed the runway at the island’s Denpasar airport. “Everybody screamed and water suddenly surged into the plane. Passengers panicked and scrambled for life jackets. Some passengers fell, some ran into others, it was chaos,” one of the survivors, Ignatius Juan Sinduk, told AFP. “I managed to grab [a lifejacket] and slowly swam out of the plane and to the shore.” An inquiry determined that the flight crew lost their bearings after entering a raincloud on descent.
Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737-800: July 2011, Timehri, Guyana
A Caribbean Airlines flight from New York broke in half when it crash landed in Guyana, having overshot the runway by 1,700 feet at Cheddi Jagan International Airport, 41 kilometers from the capital, Georgetown. One passenger suffered leg injuries in the accident, and 100 needed medical treatment after the crash, which was survived by the 163 people on board. “Everything started caving in and the girl next to me just sat there motionless in shock,’ passenger Betsy Myndyllo told the Daily Mail, while another said: “It was terror. I was praying to Jesus.”
Alrosa Tupolov Tu-154: September 2010, Komi, Russia
The domestic Russian Alrosa Mirny Enterprise Flight 514 from Udachny to Moscow suffered a complete failure of electric power when flying at 10,600 meters, resulting in the loss of its navigational systems and fuel pumps. As a consequence the plane, carrying 72 passengers and 9 crew, was left with just 30 minutes of flying time before the fuel ran out. The pilots managed to land the plane in a disused airfield close to the village of Ihzma, in northern Russia. “It’s a miracle that we were able to land on the strip, we only had another ten minutes of fuel when we came across it and we are very thankful,” the pilots told a correspondent for the local BNK News. The plane’s crew was decorated by the Russian government for their bravery in extraordinary circumstances.
American Airlines Boeing 737: December 2009, Kingston, Jamaica
American Airlines Flight 331 skid across the runway on landing after turbulence and a rainstorm disrupted its attempts to land on a flight from Reagan International Airport in Washington, DC. The plane’s 148 passengers all survived the crash, in what was named a “Christmas Miracle”- the crash happened on December 22, as travelers made their way home for the holidays. 92 passengers were taken to hospital after the accident, with 13 suffering serious injuries. The fuselage of the Boeing 737 broke in several places, and the engines broke off the jet. “It was evident we were skidding,” One passenger, Natalie Morales-Hendricks, told NBC News. “And then the lights went out and we just buckled and bumped and things were falling out – everybody’s overhead baggage started to fall – and literally it was like being in a car accident. People were screaming.”
US Airlines Airbus A320-200: January 15, 2009 New York, USA
US Airlines Flight 1549 had been in the air less than three minutes after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport when the pilot was forced to land the plane in the Hudson River, missing the George Washington Bridge by less than 900 feet. The cause of the Airbus’ engine failure proved to be a flock of migrating geese which destroyed the plane’s engines. “I don’t think there’s enough praise to go around for someone who does something like this. This is something you really can’t prepare for,” former Delta pilot Denny Walsh told CNN. “You really don’t practice water landings in commercial airplanes. Just the sheer expertise he demonstrated is amazing.” The plane’s 155 passengers all escaped without serious injury from the crash, called the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
Air France Airbus A340-313X: August 2005, Toronto, Canada
An Airbus carrying 309 people burst into flames after it skidded off the runway and plunged down a nearby ravine after attempting to land during severe weather conditions. Remarkably, all the passengers survived the ordeal, with 43 people taken to hospital for minor injuries. “The most difficult thing was when the plane was rolling and we were halfway, and we thought we would die, because [as we looked out of] the window there were flames, the plane was continuing to go, and we thought we would just die,” one of the passengers on Air France Flight 358, Olivier Dubois, told CBC News Canada. All of those travelling on the plane managed to get out before it went up in flames.
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