Two emergencies in two days for plane
BY ALLISON HORTON AND TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporters May 31, 2012 9:41AM
An American Airlines Eagle plane slid off the runway at O'Hare International Airport Thursday, May 31, 2012. | Courtesy NBC5
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:43AM
Authorities are investigating how a plane was forced to make an emergency landing at O’Hare Airport twice in two days because of the same landing gear problem.
The plane first made an emergency landing at O’Hare on Wednesday but was cleared to fly after being checked by maintenance crews.
But the issue was apparently not fixed, and the plane again had to make an emergency landing after taking off from O’Hare Thursday morning — this time veering off the runway upon landing.
No one was injured in either incident, but officials are investigating just how the plane could have been cleared to fly only for the same landing gear problem arising again.
“We are looking at all parts of this investigation,” FAA spokeswoman Tony Molinaro said. “We always look at all maintenance records.”
The second emergency landing happened around 8 a.m. Thursday. American Eagle Flight 4096, bound for Tulsa, Okla., returned to O’Hare after takeoff when the pilot noticed a problem with the plane’s landing gear, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said.
As it landed, the plane veered off the runway onto a paved surface, city Department of Aviation spokesman Greg Cunningham said.
The 28 passengers and three crew members got off the plane on the runway. Buses then took them back to the terminal, and passengers were put on another plane bound for Tulsa, American Airlines spokesman Ed Martelle said.
The same plane was taken out of service Wednesday when Flight 3927, bound for Hartford, Conn., was forced to return to O’Hare, Martelle said.
The exact mechanical issue is under investigation, but it appears the landing gear issue was the same in both emergency landings, American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said.
After Wednesday’s emergency landing, in which no one was injured, the plane was “taken out of service” and “thoroughly inspected by our maintenance team at O’Hare before being put back into service,” Martelle said.
After Thursday’s incident “it’s now in our maintenance hangar at O’Hare for further inspection,” Martelle said.
The pair of emergency landings came on the heels of another incident involving an American Eagle commuter plane at O’Hare. No one was injured Wednesday when another one of the carrier’s planes was clipped by a 747 cargo plane on a taxiway.