No one hurt in emergency landing at suburban St. Louis airport : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Posted at 10:58 a.m. EST Wednesday, March 21, 2001

MASCOUTAH, Ill. -- (AP) -- A Pan American Airways jet bound for Florida was forced to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff from a suburban St. Louis airport.

None of the 20 passengers or crew members were hurt in the incident on Tuesday, but passengers were forced to stay on the plane for three hours while awaiting a tow truck.

The Boeing 727 had taken off from Gary-Chicago Airport in Indiana earlier in the day on its was to Sanford, Fla. It made a scheduled stop at MidAmerica Airport, about 25 miles east of St. Louis, to pick up additional passengers.

The plane took off about 4:45 p.m. Cockpit warning lights came on, and the pilot determined that a door to the nose landing gear had fallen off.

The plane returned to the airport and began the long wait on the runway. Airport officials would not discuss the incident. Calls to Pan-Am's corporate office in Portsmouth, N.H., went unanswered Wednesday morning.

``This was completely unsatisfactory,'' passenger Kevin Clark of Granite City, Ill., said of the emergency procedure.

But Mickie Blaney, a passenger from Valparaiso, Ind., praised the work of the pilot, co-pilot and three flight attendants.

``The pilot did an excellent job landing the plane,'' she said. ``They were good to us. They gave us cookies and drinks. Everybody was calm.''

Passengers were placed in hotels and were scheduled to resume flights to Florida on Wednesday.

MidAmerica opened in 1998 as an alternative to busy Lambert Airport in St. Louis, but didn't have any commercial carriers until August, when Pan-Am began offering daily flights to and from Gary and Sanford.

Pan-Am, once a marquee name among airlines, was purchased out of bankruptcy court in 1998. The airline flies reconfigured 727s to smaller cities located near larger metro areas.

-- Doris (, March 22, 2001

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