London: A Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet en-route from London to Las Vegas today turned back midway and made a dramatic but safe, emergency landing at the Gatwick airport in the UK after developing a landing-gear fault.
The Boeing 747 jumbo jet, carrying 447 passengers and 15 crew members, turned back midway and landed safely at the Gatwick airport, four hours after its take off.
Virgin said: "Virgin Atlantic can confirm that the plane has landed safely at Gatwick. Our priority now is to look after our passengers."
Ambulances and fire-and-rescue crews had been on standby as the plane circled the airport in the hours after it took off for America in late morning.
Before the successful emergency landing, Virgin announced that the plane would be carrying out a "non-standard landing procedure" at Gatwick airport.
Television pictures showed the plane at a halt safely on the runway.
There was apparently no need for an immediate response by emergency crews although within a few minutes the flashing lights of emergency vehicles could be seen close to the plane.