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Commuter plane makes emergency landing on belly in Newark

A commuter plane with 31 passengers aboard was forced to make an emergency belly landing in Newark, N.J., early Saturday morning when the aircraft’s landing gear failed to fully deploy.

After circling Newark Liberty International Airport several times trying to get the landing gear to move into normal position, the pilot successfully landed the plane with all the wheels retracted just after 1 a.m. local time.

No injuries were reported. Videos posted to YouTube and other websites by witnesses showed bright flashes and trails of sparks coming from the plane’s underside as it touched down.

“There was some sparks and smoke upon stopping on the runway, but no fire,” U.S. Airways spokesman Andrew Christie told the Los Angeles Times.

Fire crews responded to the runway, but there appeared to be minimal damage to the plane, officials said.

The Dash 8-100 plane was on a flight from Philadelphia run U.S. Airways subsidiary Piedmont Airlines. After the incident, the passengers were evacuated from the plane and taken by bus to the terminal, where they were able to pick up their luggage.

Christie said U.S. Airways is “cooperating fully” with National Transportation Safety Board representatives looking into the incident. The NTSB routinely investigates airplane accidents and incidents.

NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said the agency is "working with the carrier to assess the damage to the aircraft" but did not yet have details on what may have caused the landing gear malfunction.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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