After crash-landing a packed passenger jet at New York’s JFK airport and saving everyone onboard, a pilot has been hailed a hero.
Four crew members and 60 passengers escaped unscathed when the plane touched down into a shower of sparks after its right landing gear became stuck.
The Delta Airlines flight 4591 had taken off from Atlanta and was close to landing in White Plains, New York, when an indicator light in the cockpit came on, indicating that the right landing wheel was unable to descend.
The experienced pilot immediately diverted to JFK because it has a longer runway and warned the 60 passengers and crew members: ‘Brace for landing’.
Keeping himself composed, he calmly told air traffic control that his landing gear would not come down, then, referring to his flight number, said what could’ve been his very last words: ‘4951 Roger and, uh better work’.
As the CRJ 900 twin-engine jet slammed down onto the runway causing sparks to fly, it slid to a stop, leaning to its side.
It is thought that the quick-thinking pilot balanced the jet on the left wheel then slowly eased it onto the right wing to slow it down.
All 60 passengers onboard were evacuated through the main door and were taken to the terminal where they were checked over before being put on a bus for White Plains.
Although still in shock from the evening’s events, the passengers were filled with nothing but praise for the man who saved their lives.
Loretta Hill, 39, from Milford in Connecticut said: ‘I’ve never prayed so hard in my whole life. I was just crying and praying to God that we would be okay.’
‘He must have balanced it on one wheel then eased it over to the right wing so he did a great job,’ said one man.
A Delta spokesman said it is not immediately clear what caused the accident but that the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have been called in to investigate.