SAN FRANCISCO -- A Delta Air Lines jet with a jammed landing gear made an emergency landing, breaking a wing as it slid along the runway in a shower of sparks. Passengers cheered as the plane came to a halt.
The Boeing 727-200 heading for Salt Lake City landed back at the San Francisco airport Monday evening without any injuries, authorities said. Emergency crews were waiting for the flight.
The pilot informed the passengers of the problem with the right landing gear soon after takeoff. The plane then circled the airport for an hour, as the crew dumped excess fuel and tried to fix the landing gear, which was stuck in a half-retracted position.
''It was so silent on the plane, except for a baby crying, which made us mothers even more tense,'' passenger Jane Vaughn of Utah told KTVU television in San Francisco.
As the plane landed, its right wing dragged on the runway and broke. Sparks came from the wing as it scraped the ground and it was doused with fire-extinguishing foam, airport spokesman Ron Wilson said. Passengers exited by an inflatable slide.
''It seemed like an eternity from the time we went to the braced position until the time we finally touched the ground,'' said Vaughn. She said passengers could hear the wing dragging along the runway.
''We rolled along for what seemed like forever until we stopped, and then a cheer broke out in the cabin,'' Vaughn added in another interview, on CBS' ''The Early Show.''
''They're certainly all very fortunate it was not more serious than it actually was,'' airport spokesman Mike McCarron said.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause, Delta said.
There was conflicting information about the number of people on board. Delta reported 79 passengers booked on the flight, along with seven crew members. News reports had just 70 or 71 passengers actually embarking.
Flight 1972 was scheduled to leave at 6:35 p.m., arrive in Salt Lake City at about 9:15 p.m. and then continue on to Kalispell, Mont. The flight instead landed back in San Francisco about 8 p.m.
Some planes bound for San Francisco were routed to Oakland or San Jose because the runway where the emergency landing took place was temporarily closed.
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