KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 24 – A Malaysia Airlines plane’s wheels refused to stow after take off Thursday, forcing a second flight by the flag-carrier to turn back in four days as it continues to reel from the loss of flight MH370.
The ATR 72 prop-plane, belonging to MAS subsidiary Firefly, departed Penang International Airport at 6.55am and turned back 15 minutes after because the aircraft’s landing gear couldn’t retract.
“As safety is of utmost priority to Firefly Airlines, the aircraft was required to turn back to Penang,” Firefly said in a statement.
Flight FY1002/MH9948, bound for the northern Malaysian city of Kota Bharu, landed safely in Penang at 7.30am, it said.
The plane’s 64 passengers and four crew members on board disembarked from the aircraft after a “normal landing”, according to Firefly, adding that the rescue service was not required to intervene.
“The crew handled the situation very professionally,” said a passenger quoted by Malaysiakini, a Malaysian news website.
Firefly said passengers of FY1002 were transferred to a new aircraft that took off at 8.50am. The plane landed at Kota Bharu about an hour later the same day.
Firefly is the low-cost arm of Malaysia Airlines.
The incident occurred just days after Malaysia Airlines flight MH192 made an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur due to a burst tyre, striking a blow to the company’s safety image. READ Malaysia Airlines plane turns back after landing gear failure
The national carrier is still looking for wreckage from flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean. READ Malaysia jet mystery deepens as oil, debris links ruled out
Nearly seven weeks later, the Australian-led search effort has yet to find any trace of the missing Boeing 777.