An Air Canada jet successfully made an emergency landing at Madrid airport tonight after a landing gear tyre burst and was sucked into its engine during take-off.
The Boeing 767 bound for Toronto landed at 7.15pm local time after circling above the Spanish city for a harrowing three hours to burn off as much fuel as possible.
There were no immediate reports of any casualties despite dozens of ambulance rushed to the Madrid’s Barajas Airport.
The plane is understood to have taken off just before 3pm and lost fragments of its landing gear causing engine damage.
Before landing passengers had tweeted photos purporting to show flames spewing from the plane’s engine as well as the fighter jet escorting it over the airport.
An F-18 Spanish Air Force combat jet has been scrambled to fly alongside the Air Canada plane so it can assess the damage to the aircraft and escort it towards the airport when it is ready to land.
Footage purportedly taken by a passenger aboard the Air Canada Boeing 767 (left) shows flames spewing from the engine, while another photograph shows a Spanish Air Force F-18 fighter jet escorting the passenger plane (right)
The Boeing 767 bound for Toronto landed at 7.15pm local time after circling above the Spanish city for a harrowing three hours to burn off as much fuel as possible
The Air Canada Boeing 767 is currently circling over the south east of Spain to burn fuel before landing. Although it was initially thought the plane would land around 6pm, it is now believed to have delayed the landing until around 7.30pm local time
The pilot of the plane has called for calm as dozens of ambulances gather at Madrid’s Barajas Airport.
Hospitals in the area have also been put on alert as part of protocol.
Although it was initially thought the plane would land around 6pm, it is now believed to have delayed the landing until around 7.30pm local time.
It comes as Madrid’s Barajas Airport was closed for more than an hour today and flights diverted after pilots spotted drones in the area.
An AENA spokeswoman said the airline had requested a slot for an emergency landing some 30 minutes after takeoff.
Spain’s main union of pilot workers, SEPLA, said in a tweet that the plane lost some pieces of its landing gear during takeoff and that the aircraft needs to fly in circles to burn off fuel before landing.
The Air Canada pilot has told passengers, in a message which has just been made public: ‘We are currently heading towards Barajas Airport and we are going to return to Madrid to land because as you know we had a little problem with one of the plane’s wheels when we took off.
A Spanish Air Force F-18 fighter flying alongside the Air Canada’s Boeing 767 over Barajas Airport, in Madrid
The flight path of the Air Canada plane which is set to make an emergency landing at 7.30pm local time after spending three hours circling Madrid
‘Therefore, as we’re carrying a lot of fuel we have to get rid of some fuel to be able to land. We will land in a few more minutes.
‘When we are ready to land we will let you know.
‘We thank you for your cooperation and patience and we would ask you to stay calm.’
Spain‘s air navigation manager Enaire confirmed: ‘A flight with a technical problem is circling Madrid before returning to Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas airport.’
A spokesman for a regional government-run emergency services coordinator said: ‘We have sent various emergency response resources to the airport because of problems with a plane.’
A spokesman for the airport operator said: ‘The airport is on standby to receive flight Air Canada flight AK837 which was bound for Toronto.’
An AENA spokeswoman said the airline had requested a slot for an emergency landing some 30 minutes after takeoff (Stock image of Air Canada plane)
The plane is understood to have taken off just before 3pm from Madrid’s Adolfo Suarez-Barajas international airport (pictured)
Madrid residents posted videos online showing a plane flying unusually low over the Spanish capital’s centre and suburbs.
The airport was closed for over an hour earlier on Monday and 26 flights were immediately diverted elsewhere.
Enaire, Spain‘s air navigation authority, had earlier reported delays in flights owing to the presence of drones in the area. Two pilots were said to have seen some drones near the airport, which is located just east of the city centre.
The airport immediately activated a special procedure to halt landings and takeoffs and divert flights to other airports.