Plane with WCup journalists crash-lands
A plane carrying World Cup journalists made an emergency landing
at a regional airport in northern Johannesburg on Sunday after
experiencing technical problems soon after takeoff.
Mark Christoph, operations manager at Lanseria Airport, said the
chartered plane had problems with its undercarriage and was forced
to make the crash-landing.
“After takeoff, it realized that one of its undercarriage
wheels was malfunctioning,” Christoph said. “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
Airport spokesman Johan Opperman said no one was hurt in the
incident, which happened at about 11 a.m. local time.
The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV network said the Metroliner twin
turboprop aircraft had 16 people on board, including 14 Al-Jazeera
employees who were on their way to Polokwane for the World Cup game
between Algeria and Slovenia.
“The team is doing well, but they are a bit shaky after the
ordeal,” Al-Jazeera editor-in-chief Mohammed Ammor said. “It was
a near death experience … but they are all in good conditions now
and they will all resume their duties.”
Christoph said sparks flew from the underside of the plane as it
came down on its belly on the Lanseria runway. People left the
aircraft through the emergency exits after it came to a stop.
Christoph added that the aircraft had been removed from the
runway and airport operations were returning to normal. Airport
officials said an investigation had been launched.
The airport also confirmed the runway was cleared in time for
film star John Travolta to fly from Lanseria to Durban in his own
Qantas-branded 707 aircraft.
Travolta is a spokesman for the Australian airline and is in
South Africa to support the Australian football team at the World