The pilot of an Electra Airways flight from Cologne, Germany to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport landed his aircraft safely at 4:21 pm Monday afternoon (July 1) after a harrowing ordeal in which Israel Air Force fighter pilots were scrambled within Israeli air space to determine whether in fact such a landing would even be possible.
An emergency had been declared at Ben-Gurion International Airport, with all incoming flights diverted to Ramon Airport in southern Israel in order to clear the way for whatever needed to be done to help the flight on the way in from Germany, which was carrying 152 passengers.
The airline’s landing gear was compromised after one of the tires blew out upon departure from the airport in Cologne.
Upon his approach to Ben-Gurion, however, the pilot prepared for an emergency landing, notifying the tower and asking for an assessment of the tires prior to making the attempt.
Nearly 100 emergency ambulances, fire trucks and other first response vehicles were on the tarmac waiting for the aircraft, and the IDF placed its rescue helicopters and extraction and rescue teams on alert at the airport. Nearby Ichilov Medical Center also made preparations “just in case” there were injured to be transported.
At the end, all of it was unnecessary, and miraculously, although the rear left tire was indeed inoperable, the other three tires held up. The pilot’s skill — and clearly his nerves of steel — stood him in good stead, and the plane touched down safely.
All operations at Ben-Gurion International Airport have returned to normal, and all flight schedules are back to normal as well, according to the IAA spokesperson.