FlySafair Boeing 737 Makes Emergency Landing in South Africa After Wheel Falls Off

Boeing 737 loses wheel during takeoff in South Africa, raising safety concerns about the aircraft model. Pilots safely land plane, but incident adds to Boeing's ongoing challenges.

Mazhar Abbas
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FlySafair Boeing 737 Makes Emergency Landing in South Africa After Wheel Falls Off

FlySafair Boeing 737 Makes Emergency Landing in South Africa After Wheel Falls Off

A FlySafair Boeing 737 aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on April 21, 2024, after one of its rear wheels fell off during takeoff. The incident occurred just a month after a similar event involving a United Airlines Boeing 737 flight.

The FlySafair flight, bound for Cape Town, had to adjust course and enter a holding pattern to consume fuel before attempting the final landing approach. Dramatic video footage showed smoke exploding from the unprotected wheel hub as the plane touched down on the runway. The undercarriage and right wing partially collapsed, but fortunately, no injuries were reported among the passengers and crew.

The pilots were alerted to the wheel detachment shortly after takeoff and decided to return to the airport. They performed a low pass to allow ground personnel to visually inspect the landing gear. Engineers determined that one of the four rear wheels had been clipped during takeoff, causing it to disintegrate as the plane tried to taxi down the runway.

Why this matters: This incident adds to the ongoing challenges facing Boeing, which has been under scrutiny following recent safety concerns and whistleblower testimony alleging issues with production standards and the use of inferior components. The safety of Boeing aircraft, particularly the 737 model, has been called into question after a series of incidents, raising concerns among passengers and aviation authorities worldwide.

FlySafair, a Johannesburg-based low-cost carrier with one of Africa's largest Boeing 737 fleets, praised the professionalism of the pilots and crew in handling the emergency situation. "The crew was alerted to the issue and decided to return to the airport, where the plane made a low pass so the landing gear could be visually inspected," a FlySafair spokesperson stated.

The incident caused the closure of one of the runways at OR Tambo International Airport, leading to travel disruptions for other passengers. South African aviation authorities have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the wheel separation and assess any potential safety issues with the aircraft.

Key Takeaways

  • FlySafair Boeing 737 made emergency landing after rear wheel fell off during takeoff.
  • Incident occurred a month after similar event involving a United Airlines Boeing 737.
  • Pilots alerted to wheel detachment, performed low pass for visual inspection before landing.
  • Incident raises concerns about Boeing 737 safety, following recent controversies and whistleblower allegations.