An El Al airplane in which a malfunction had been detected made a successful emergency landing at the Ben Gurion Airport Tuesday morning. The flight, which had departed for Moscow earlier Tuesday made its way back to Tel Aviv after a malfunction was discovered in one of its wheels upon liftoff. The plane emptied its fuel tank above the sea and then landed at the Ben Gurion airport.
The Port Authority declared an emergency situation and rescue teams assembled in the field in case of any problem with the landing, although the aircraft landed safely.
On Tuesday morning, the plane, carrying 107 passengers, took off in the direction of Moscow. Immediately after liftoff the pilot heard noise coming from the wheels. An inspection revealed that during takeoff, one of the wheels was punctured. As a result, the airline decided to return the plane to Israel and fix the problem, rather then wait for the landing in Moscow.
An El Al spokesman said that the passengers on the plane were in no danger and that the craft would land regularly, then depart again for Russia after the breakdown was fixed.
"We do not consider this an emergency landing. We have had such problems before, and this is not a serious malfunction," the spokesman said.