Virgin Atlantic flight VS43 lands safely at Gatwick after circling drama

 
Emma Haslett
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A close-up of the plane shows one of the landing gear failed to deploy (Source: Getty)

A Virgin Atlantic flight en route to Las Vegas has landed safely at Gatwick after it spent four hours circling airspace over Gatwick Airport after its landing gear failed.

It is thought the right wing's landing gear on the Boeing 747, which can carry up to 416 passengers, either failed to drop down or had not locked into position.

It was speculated that the plane made a "partial-gear landing", in which the landing gear does not deploy properly.

Footage of the flight also suggested its right wing landing gear had failed to deploy.

The flight took off from Gatwick at around 11.30am, and noticed problems with its landing gear early into the flight. It then began to circle airspace around the south-east.

Virgin Atlantic confirmed the plane had landed.

Early reports suggested the airliner was dumping fuel over the Channel in preparation for an emergency landing. There were 20 ambulances on standby at Gatwick Airport, while the M23, at the end of the runway, was closed.

The airline, which is 51 per cent owned by Virgin, has been named among the safest airlines in the world.

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