Journalists escape SA belly landing
Al Jazeera World cup journalists are unharmed after emergency landing near Johannesburg.
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2010 19:02 GMT
The chartererd plane had 14 people onboard, including 12 working for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera channel

A group of World Cup journalists, including 12 from the Al Jazeera network, have escaped unhurt after their aircraft made an emergency landing near Johannesburg, an airport spokesman has said.

Mohammed Ammor, the editor-in-chief of Al Jazeera Sport told Al Jazeera: "The team is doing well, but they are a bit shaky after the ordeal, it was a difficult experience for them.

"It was a near death experience, but they are all in good conditions now and they will all resume their duties."

Sparks flew from the belly of the plane as it came down at Lanseria airport, northwest of Johannesburg on Sunday, after experiencing problems with its under-carriage, Mark Christoph, the operations manager, said.

"After take-off, it realised that one of its under-carriage wheels was malfunctioning.

"They spent about an hour in the air, circling the airport trying to resolve the problem, going through the normal procedures, and couldn't get it right. So they elected to land without wheels on to the runway," Christoph said.

The plane had been heading for the northern city of Polokwane where Algeria were playing Slovenia.

The chartererd plane had 14 people on board, including 12 Al Jazeera personnel. Passengers left the aircraft through emergency exits after it came to a stop.

The aircraft had been removed from the runway and airport operations were back to normal but with a backlog of flights, said Christoph.

Al Jazeera and agencies
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