Asia Pacific

All safe as Myanmar jetliner lands after nose gear fails to deploy

AFP-JIJI

A Myanmar pilot saved the day after his aircraft’s landing gear failed, safely putting the jet on the runway with no front wheels on Sunday, an official said.

The nail-biting touchdown — in which no one was hurt — was the second instance of a malfunctioning flight in less than a week within the country.

Myanmar Airlines flight UB-103 — an Embraer-190 model — touched the ground at around 9:00 a.m. in Mandalay (0230 GMT), a city popular among foreign tourists. The plane carried 82 passengers and a crew of seven.

An unverified video circulated on social media showed a graceful landing before the plane’s nose dipped gradually to the runway, and the craft slowly ground to a halt.

Ye Htut Aung, deputy director general of Myanmar’s Civil Aviation Department, told AFP the pilot tried repeatedly to deploy the front landing gear — first through its computer system, then manually.

“They tried hard twice by flying around twice and asked to check whether the nose wheel dropped or not,” Ye Htut Aung said, calling it a “technical fault.

“So they had to land with the back wheels … The pilot could land it skillfully,” he said. “There were no casualties.”

Ye Htut Aung said engineers sent by Myanmar National Airlines would examine the aircraft, adding that all jets get a daily flight check.

For its part, Embraer said in a statement that it was “offering its full cooperation to the aviation authorities in order to aid in the investigation.

Passenger Soe Moe told AFP: “Smoke came out a little when we landed. … All passengers are okay.”

Sunday’s incident came just four days after a Biman Bangladesh Airlines plane skidded off a runway while landing at Yangon airport in a storm, injuring 11 passengers.

Myanmar’s monsoon season has caused problems for commercial and military flights in the past.

A military plane crashed into the Andaman Sea in 2017, killing all 122 people on board in one of the deadliest aviation accidents in the country’s history. Authorities blamed bad weather.

And in 2015, an Air Bagan passenger plane veered off the runway amid bad weather and heavy rain. A passenger and a person on the ground were killed.