Philly to Newark flight forced to make belly landing

Photo courtesy of WABC

May 18, 2013 4:12:00 PM PDT
An US Airways Express turboprop plane, operated by Piedmont Airlines, left Philadelphia International Airport around 11:00 Friday night.

The flight was on its way to Newark but landing gear problems forced the pilot to make a dramatic decision.

After circling Newark Liberty International Airport and unable to get the landing gear to function, the pilot performed a belly landing.

Sparks lit up the dark night but finally the plane came to a stop and all 31 passengers and three crew members got out safely.

Linda Demarest was on the plane.

"The pilot had come out with a flashlight and was looking at the wing and that is when we knew something was up," said Demarest.

She says the pilot then told passengers that there would be a crash landing.

Demarest thought of her husband and children.

"I sent them a text that I loved them but I didn't tell them why," she said.

The flight attendant moved as many passengers to the back of the plane as possible and then the pilot began his descent.

Miraculously, plane landed successfully and no one was injured.

"Somebody said today you should play the lottery, the Powerball. I said I don't need to, I already won," said Demarest.

A spokesperson for the airline says there's no word on the cause of the malfunction of the landing gear.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.