NEWARK, N.J. —A United Airlines jetliner damaged its right wing when the landing gear failed to fully deploy Sunday at Newark Liberty International Airport — making for a frightening few moments for passengers, who were braced in the crash position before an "unbelievably smooth" touchdown that drew cheers.
All 53 people aboard got off the plane safely.
Flight 634 from Chicago was approaching the airport about 9 a.m. when the plane suddenly began ascending again, said passenger Paul Wasylyszyn of Chicago.
The captain then came over the intercom, advising the 48 passengers that there was "an issue" with one of the plane's landing gears and they were trying to fix it. The captain was composed about the announcements, several passengers said, commending the crew for it.
When the aircraft landed, part of its belly struck the runway, United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said.
Passengers cheered when the plane came to a stop, Wasylyszyn said. Then they hurried out through the emergency exits, sliding down the chutes that had deployed.
"I've had a lot of worse landings at Newark before," said another passenger, Paul Lasiuk, a 46-year-old Chicago resident. "It was unbelievably smooth."
Some of the right wing area was damaged, but the extent of the damage was still being determined Sunday.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration the Airbus 319's right main landing gear did not extend, though its nose and left main landing gear did.
United announced that it would refund the fares of all the flight's passengers.