All 82 passengers and seven crew members on board Myanmar National Airlines flight UB103 were safe after the captain made a daring touch down at Mandalay using only its rear wheels, as its front landing gear failed to deploy.
The domestic plane coming from Yangon landed at Mandalay International Airport at 9:09 a.m. with all passengers and crew members able to safely evacuate after the plane dragged its nose down the runway and came to a perfect stop.
While approaching Mandalay International Airport at about 8 am, Captain Myat Moe Aung informed the air traffic tower about the malfunctioning nose landing gear, and then circled the airport to burn off fuel to reducing the landing weight and the degree of a fire hazard.
At 9.06 am, the Embraer 190 plane touched down on its back wheels only. It travelled on its rear wheels, continuing some distance along the runway on its nose, kicking up smoke, followed by an urgent and orderly evacuation of the passengers and crew.
“When the plane was about to land at Mandalay International Airport, the nose landing gear stopped functioning. The plane landed just with its rear wheels, as it could not deploy its front wheel. Coming down on its nose, the plane stopped after rolling for about 5000 feet on the runway. We provided all necessary assistance for the 82 passengers and crew. Because of the incident, the airport might be closed for about four hours. As the runway is 14000 feet long, arrangements are underway for the landing of small planes on the remaining 9000-foot runway of the facility. We expect landings by international passenger jets may begin in the afternoon,” U Kyaw Hsan, the manager in-charge of the airport, told the media.
Dr Soe Myint, an anesthesiologist who was a member of a medical team flying from Yangon to Mandalay on its way to Sagaing to provide free treatment for local residents, said, “At about 8.15 am, I began to notice that the plane was still flying without reducing its speed. At that time, crew members came to us and told us that the plane had to circle the airport, as its nose landing gear was not functioning. Finally, the plane touched down safely at about 9 am. The captain remained in control and he made the right decisions.”
Chief Minister of Mandalay Region Dr Zaw Myint Maung surveyed the damaged plane, and comforted passengers and the crew. — Min Htet Aung (Mann Sub-printing House)
(Translated by TMT)