Emergency landing sparks panic

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A chartered jet full of Norwegian passengers on their way home from the Canary Islands had to make an emergency landing shortly after taking off from the Las Palmas airport Wednesday morning.

Passengers on board the Airbus A320 flight chartered by tour operator Ving from Iber World airlines told Aftenposten.no that they heard several sharp explosive-like noises coming from an area around one of the wings.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that several passengers also saw flames shooting out from one of the engines, while one man from Hamar told the web site of his hometown newspaper ha.no that many on board started screaming.

“It’s dramatic when 180 people start screaming in panic,” Joakim Fossum Stugstad told ha.no. He and his family were returning from a holiday on Gran Canaria.

Passengers said they received little information other than being told to keep their seatbelts on. The pilots turned the aircraft around and successfully made what’s called a “controlled” landing back at Las Palmas, where the flight was met by firetrucks. No injuries were reported, but passengers were frightened by the incident.

Ving officials in Oslo told NRK they could understand that passengers viewed the emergency landing as “dramatic.” They had little information regarding its cause.

“The captain chose to return to the airport after indications that not everything was as it should be,” Christian Grønli of Ving told Aftenposten.no. “We are waiting for a report from the airline, but we don’t know when that will come.”

Ving was working to arrange alternative transportation home to Norway for the 180 passengers on board.