Spanish Air Force F-18 fighter jet was scrambled today to escort a stricken Air Canada passenger plane as it circled Madrid burning off fuel ahead of emergency landing.
An Air Canada Boeing 767 aircraft, which was reportedly carrying 128 passengers, has requested and safely completed an emergency landing at Madrid’s Barajas airport after part of its landing gear fell off and entered its engines.
According to Spain’s main pilot union, SEPLA, the aircraft lost pieces of its landing gear on takeoff from Madrid’s Αεροδρόμιο Adolfo Suarez-Madrid Barajas. The aircraft was then forced to circle the airport for hours to burn fuel in order to reach the maximum allowed weight to make a safe landing.
During the incident the plane’s pilot told passengers there was a “small problem with one of the wheels of the plane during takeoff” and that they were burning fuel before returning to Madrid, Spain’s national broadcaster TVE is reporting.
The pilot also urged the passengers to remain calm and be patient.
Fire engines were seen rushing to the plane after it touched down on the tarmac but no fire was reported.
According to Flightradar24 the aircraft involved, a Boeing 767-300ER, is about 30 years old.
The incident unfolded just hours after a drone sighting shut down the airport for over an hour, causing delays and forcing authorities to divert 26 flights. The airport operator said that was prepared to receive the flight and is fully operational despite its earlier closure.