Israel-NYC flight makes safe emergency landing - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Israel-NYC flight makes safe emergency landing

Posted: Updated:
By MICHAEL R. SISAK
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - A New York-bound Delta Air Lines flight from Israel declared an emergency and returned to Tel Aviv early Sunday after developing a mechanical problem, vexing passengers already on edge as Palestinian militants launched rocket attacks on the city.

Flight 469 - a Boeing 747 with 370 passengers and 17 crew members aboard - landed safely back at Ben Gurion Airport around 2:30 a.m. local time after flaps on the jumbo jet failed to retract properly on takeoff about two hours earlier, the airline said.

Delta spokeswoman Jennifer Martin said the crew made the emergency landing "out of an abundance of caution." She said there was no indication the plane's problem was related to the Israeli-Palestine conflict or terrorism.

Passenger Michael Simon said the crew disclosed an unspecified problem with the plane about a half-hour into the flight. The mood on board, he said, "was not so much panic as bewilderment and frustration."

"Obviously it has been a tense week in Tel Aviv," he said.

Simon said they soon started circling and dumping fuel.

Radar images showed Flight 469 in a holding pattern above the Mediterranean Sea, off the Israeli coast, for more than an hour.

Fire trucks and ambulances lined the runway and passengers were led off across the tarmac.

Simon said some were told they would be waiting more than 20 hours before being booked on a new flight to New York.

Flight 469 took off about 12:30 a.m. local time (5:30 p.m. Eastern time Saturday) and was due at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport around 4:30 a.m. Eastern on Sunday.

The emergency landing only exacerbated heightened sensitivity in Israel amid the conflict.

Simon said passengers started arriving at Ben Gurion for the flight around 9:30 p.m. local time, just as sirens sounded to warn that Palestinian militants were sending a new round of rocket attacks toward Tel Aviv.

"People went from air raid to airport," Simon said. "What a jarring juxtaposition, even though pilots were clear this had nothing to do with Hamas."

The militant group said this week it intended to fire rockets at the airport and warned foreign airlines to stop flying to Israel. The Israeli military intercepted rockets headed toward the airport Friday and there was no disturbance to air traffic.

Delta issued a travel advisory earlier this week labeled "Israel Unrest" saying it would continue operating flights on the New York-Tel Aviv route but that it would allow passengers booked while the conflict continues to cancel or change their tickets without penalty.

The emergency landing of Flight 469 caused some residual delays in and out of Ben Gurion, but Simon said once the plane landed the airport appeared to be operating as usual - even with the threat of rocket fire.

"Unaffected," Simon said. "I looked at the flight board and not a single flight was canceled except for ours."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • U.S. & World NewsMore>>

  • Death sentence given in AP photographer's killing

    Death sentence given in AP photographer's killing

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:20 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:20:57 GMT
    A Kabul court announced Wednesday that the Afghan police officer charged with killing Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon has been convicted and...More >>
    A Kabul court announced Wednesday that the Afghan police officer charged with killing Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon has been convicted and sentenced to...More >>
  • US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-07-23 15:37:30 GMT
    Dozens of Palestinian families trapped by clashes between Hamas militants and Israeli troops are scrambling to flee a southern Gaza Strip neighborhood as Israel reported that two more of its soldiers have died in...More >>
    Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as the top U.S. diplomat reported progress in efforts to broker a truce in a war that has so far killed more than 680 Palestinians and 31...More >>
  • Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life

    Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:16 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:16:30 GMT
    After two days of jury selection, lawyers are poised to give opening statements in the trial of a Detroit-area man who opened his front door and shot an unarmed woman, killing her.More >>
    A defense lawyer for a Detroit-area man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch says he repeatedly heard poundings - "boom, boom, boom" - outside his home before he opened the door and shot her in the face.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

P.O. Box 8 Tulsa, OK 74101-0008

Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTUL. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.