LONDON (AP) _ A Virgin Atlantic Airways jet from Los Angeles made an emergency landing at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday, slightly injuring some passengers.
The Airbus 340′s left landing gear failed to come down, forcing pilot Tim Barnby to land using only the right gear. All 98 passengers and 16 crew were quickly evacuated down landing slides onto a foam-coated runway.
Airport spokesman Daryl Bartlet said there were no serious injuries. Nine people were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, according to a Virgin statement.
The 39-year-old pilot said he discovered the problem during the descent into Heathrow, London’s busiest airport.
``The left main landing gear was not extending properly,″ Barnby said. ``I did all I could to force it down but it didn’t work. The undercarriage was stuck.″
After burning off fuel for 40 minutes, the former military pilot and acrobatic champion made the emergency landing.
``When we landed, we skidded down the runway. But we came to a stop and all the passengers were evacuated within one minute,″ Barnby said.
The mishap forced one of Heathrow’s runways to close, causing delays for other airlines.
British Airways, which operates the most flights at Heathrow, had to divert 11 flights to London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports, or to Birmingham. It also canceled six departures from Heathrow.