Ben Gurion International Airport was in a state of emergency on Thursday night after a plane from El Al's low cost Up Airline en route to Kiev experienced a wheel malfunction with 182 people on board.
Parts of one of the tires were found on the runway at Ben Gurion, suggesting that the tire blew upon takeoff.
The plane circled the airport for an hour and a half to burn off fuel before making an emergency landing. Magen David Adom and other rescue services arrived at the airport in case anything was to happen, but the plane landed safely.
The crew realized that the tire had blown about 20 minutes into the flight, and it took ground crews 10 minutes to clean up the pieces.
The captain, pilot Yuval Koren, recalls that "after takeoff one of our indicators showed that one of the wheels wasn't retracting. I then realized that we needed to return and land at Ben Gurion. I updated the passengers and crew as to what was going on, and I decided to give everyone all of the information I had."
"Half an hour before the emergency landing, I told the passengers that we are expecting the best. The landing was very stressful," Koren added.
Passengers on board the aircraft reported hearing a large explosion as the plane was taking off.
Miri from Yehud said "when the plane began to take off, we heard a loud 'boom' which shocked everyone on the plane. We didn't understand what it was. They told us about the problem half an hour after we took off."
Meanwhile, Miri from Petah Tikva said "they explained to us what happened, and the pilot was reserved and spoke well. He tried to keep us calm. He was really nice."
The event occurred on the busiest day at the airport this year. There were 40,000 people who took off on 240 flights, and there was also a similar number of arrivals.