The Boeing 767 that crash-landed earlier today in Warsaw, Poland, amazingly reported no casualties or injuries to its 231 passengers. Stories are now being shared of relatives crying, panicking, and saying their farewells before the plane plunged down.
The airliner, completing a flight from Newark, N.J., to the Polish capital, circled for hours above the airport, before it was forced to dump its fuel and make an emergency crash landing on the runway.
Leszek Chorzewski, a spokesman for the airport, has reported that the pilots were unable to resolve a problem with the plane’s chassis, and could not get the landing wheels to lower. Their only option was to get rid of the fuel on board in order to prevent a larger fire from breaking out, and attempt the emergency landing.
The Warsaw airport’s quick actions were what prevented a tragedy, as the fire brigade laid out special flame-retardants on the runway where the plane slid down on its belly. A small fire was started, but they were able to quickly put it out.
One relative with a mother-in-law on board who called her as the plane was circling above, informed the Associated Press that she heard people crying and saying their final goodbyes.
"She was in shock, but she was fine," Dabrowska said, sharing that her mother-in-law described how the passengers were told to remove their shoes and go down the emergency slide. They were later taken for examinations at a hospital, but no major injuries were reported.
Airport officials have hailed Captain Tadeusz Wrona and co-pilot Jerzy Szwartz for executing a “perfect emergency landing” and Poland’s president has called them heroes.
In a news conference, President Bronislaw Komorowski thanked all those involved for saving so many lives and keeping damages to a minimum, and said that the airplane crew is going to receive state decoration awards.