Plane makes emergency landing at O'Hare

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sparks flew as an American Airlines plane made an emergency landing at O'Hare Airport around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. No one was injured, but the runway was closed for several hours while workers cleared the plane.

The MD-80 was coming in from Los Angeles when it experienced problems with its nose gear. The pilot on Flight 1750 managed to land the plane with the remaining wheels.

Passengers onboard the flight said it looked worse than it really was.

"I have to say, for what it's worth, the landing this time was probably smoother than most regular landings I have ever had," said Keith Lawrence, passenger. Lawrence, like the other 136 passengers, expressed gratitude to the pilot and flight crew for a job well done. "You put your trust in the airlines and the pilots and stewardesses for a reason."

As a precautionary measure, firefighters rushed to the jet after it came to a stop. Crews were ready to spray foam on the jet in case there was a fire. There was none.

"We got notification that there was a plane inbound at about 6:12 a. m. this morning with nose gear problems. We were told a plane did a fly by to verify that the nose gear was not deployed, and that was the case. We had a standby alert placing numerous fire department aircraft safety equipment along the runway area. The plane landed. It landed very softly and I am told it skidded approximately 100 feet producing some sparking but no fire," said Kevin McGregor, Chicago Fire Department.

Officials praised the crew for what they are calling a flawless emergency landing.

"You have to credit the captain and the cockpit and the first officer for landing under stressful situations, but they followed procedures and were highly skilled and trained and prepared for emergencies such as this in the past and training helped them land safely today and all is well," said Mary Frances Fagan, American Airlines spokesperson.

"They did a wonderful job bringing that plane down and assuring none of the passengers were injured," said Raymond Orozco, Chicago Fire Comm.

"It was bumpy and I bit my tongue," said George Palencia, a young traveler.

The emergency landing signaled the end of a honeymoon for one couple.

"We never thought that would happen. But we're home and safe and that's all that matters," said Alissa and Joe Rizzo, passengers.

The jet was on the runway for much of the morning and afternoon, so officials had to shut down Runway 14 Right, which is O'Hare's longest runway, for several hours.

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