Plane with blown tire lands safely at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport

An Electra Air Boeing 737, seen on the runway after an emergency landing, made it safely to Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, July 1, 2019. Photo: Flash90

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport went on its highest alert and cleared its runways as a Bulgarian passenger plane with a blown tire approached from Cologne, Germany on a scheduled flight.

More than 100 ambulances and firetrucks arrived to await what officials feared could be a crash landing.

Israelis watched Monday afternoon on live television as the Electra Airways 737 jet flew over the airport’s control tower to verify the flat tire and then headed for the runway.

Meanwhile, a nearby Tel Aviv hospital cleared out its emergency room as a message circulated on Israelis’ WhatsApp asking people to recite psalms for the safety of the passengers.

The plane landed safely, breaking with its engine in reverse in order to avoid putting pressure on the tire.

Faulty tires can catch fire due to the speed and heat generated from the landing, and the fuel tanks are located nearby, leading to the extreme reaction.

The emergency was declared after ground crews in Cologne found pieces of tire on the runway after the flight took off.

The plane dumped fuel into the Mediterranean before the emergency landing. Air Force jets also met the flight and inspected the plane from the air to determine which tire had blown.