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Plane circles Belfast to burn fuel, makes emergency landing

By: Associated Press
November 10, 2017 Updated: November 10, 2017 at 11:28 am
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photo - A Flybe plane on the tarmac at Belfast International Airport, in Northern Ireland, Friday Nov. 10, 2017.  The plane carrying more than 50 people made an emergency landing without its nose gear at Belfast International Airport. (Liam McBurney/PA via AP)
A Flybe plane on the tarmac at Belfast International Airport, in Northern Ireland, Friday Nov. 10, 2017. The plane carrying more than 50 people made an emergency landing without its nose gear at Belfast International Airport. (Liam McBurney/PA via AP) 

LONDON (AP) — A passenger plane carrying more than 50 people made an emergency landing without its nose gear at Belfast International Airport in Northern Ireland Friday, after circling for two hours to burn fuel.

The Bombardier Q-400 operated by U.K.-based carrier Flybe took off from Belfast City Airport for Inverness, Scotland, on Friday before being diverted. The plane circled in a holding pattern for about two hours before it landed at the city's international airport.

Images on social media showed the aircraft tipped forward onto its nose with firetrucks nearby.

The airline said the plane was carrying 53 passengers, including an infant, and four crew members. One passenger was treated in a local hospital for a minor hand injury. No one else was hurt.

The airport confirmed it was "dealing with an incident on our main runway" but said it remained open.

The U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch said it was sending a team to Belfast to investigate the incident.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots Association, said landing without nose gear is "a very difficult maneuver."

"The pilots in this case appear to have done a sterling job of bringing the aircraft back under those circumstances," Strutton said.

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