At 8:24 pm yesterday, Estonian Air flight OV473 featuring a torn tyre performed precautionary landing in Tallinn.
According to initial data, it was the back left landing gear inside tyre that broke. As explained by Estonian Air board member Indrek Randveer, a fragment of a tyre was discovered on the airstrip after the plane had taken off and the crew as notified immediately. The options were discussed: shall the plane fly to Amsterdam or land at once on Tallinn airfield. The latter was decided.
The CRJ900 plane had 82 passengers on board, plus the crew of four. For the rescuers, this was the highest level i.e. fourth grade emergency.
The plane touched down at 8:24 pm and all went well. The ground crew inspected the plain and it taxied to a ramp on its own, said Estonian Air.
North Rescue Centre told Postimees the rescuers were there to meet the plane and cool of the landing gear to avoid a fire. According to Rescue Board, problems were avoided.
According to a Postimees reporter on location, the successfully landed plane was lauded with handclaps by dozens of people who had showed up to witness the event.
«This is definitely out of the ordinary. This is a first for Estonian Air, but all has been rehearsed. Thankfully, all we have practised was not needed,» said Mr Randveer, relieved.
Passenger: we felt all was not okay
The plain also contained young sportsmen, on their way to competitions in China. According to Laura Lehiste, the plane circled for about an hour before touching down, and did one zero flight. Among other things, they wanted to spend fuel so the plane would weigh less. The people on board were informed about the broken landing gear in Estonian and in English. But it was still scary, said the young lady. There was no panic, though.
Oskar Hovinga, on his way home to Utrecht from Russia, said a problem was evident at take-off. «As we took off, we felt all was not okay. The plane was fluttering,» he said, adding that the information passed by crew to passengers was not sufficient and he was therefore worried something might be seriously wrong with the aircraft.
The passengers will be taken to their destination today, by a replacement plane. Estonian Air extends its apologies for inconvenience caused to the people thus delayed.
Why the tyre broke is not presently known. According to Mr Randveer, the plane was inspected before take-off. Whether the tyre was of bad quality investigations will tell, he said.