- Plane was carrying 52 passengers from Denver to Durango, Colorado
- Pilots told air traffic control the nose gear had been manually locked
- Aircraft landed safely after circling and burning off fuel over Durango
Emotional passengers had a group hug after a United Airlines-branded regional flight suffered a problem with its landing gear.
The plane was carrying 52 passengers and four crew members when it was forced to circle over Durango, Colorado, for more than an hour before landing safely.
It burned off fuel before touching down because officials were concerned its nose gear could collapse upon impact with the runway.
The Bombardier CRJ-200 encountered a problem on Monday afternoon’s flight from Denver, which normally takes just 45 minutes.
Pilots told air traffic control the nose gear had been manually locked, the Durango Herald reported.
The plane – operated by SkyWest Airlines as United Airlines Express – did a low-level flyby so officials on the ground could verify the landing gear was deployed, said Tony Vicari, interim director of aviation at Durango-La Plata County Airport.
‘They did have the two main gears and nose down. We have to make a judgment call on whether it’s locked,’ he said. ‘There’s always a chance it could collapse on impact.’
Flight 5849 landed safely, with firefighters and paramedics on standby as a precaution, once the pilots were given the OK to proceed.
‘The landing was smoother than normal,’ passenger Jennifer Alvenes told the Durango Herald. ‘It was the most beautiful landing we have ever seen.’
A United Airlines spokesman told MailOnline Travel that the plane’s crew asked airport vehicles to meet the aircraft ‘out of an abundance of caution’.
‘The flight landed safely and mechanics are inspecting the aircraft,’ the spokesman said.