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Sparks fly as plane makes dramatic ‘dark landing’ at Gold Coast airport

A plane has made a miraculous landing at Gold Coast Airport overnight after its landing gear failed during approach, resulting in a fiery touchdown that sent sparks and flames soaring into the air.

The aircraft’s two pilots reported an issue with the landing gear — the principal support of the plane during landing — at 8pm on Tuesday. They carefully circled the airport for an hour to burn off fuel, to minimise the risk of combusting, eventually touching down in what’s known as a “dark landing”.

The plane, a Beechcraft 58 Baron, can seat up to six people, though only the two pilots were on board at the time. It’s understood the men on board are “incredibly accomplished” flyers and have extensive piloting experience.

Sparks are seen flying from the aircraft that touched down at the Gold Coast without landing gear. Sparks are seen flying from the aircraft that touched down at the Gold Coast without landing gear.

A plane with two people on board was forced to make an emergency landing at Gold Coast Airport overnight, touching down without functioning landing gear. Source: 9 News

Emergency crews ‘prepared for the worst’

Emergency crews were deployed to the airport to meet the plane on arrival. Thanks to the pilots’ efforts, each escaped unharmed, despite the aircraft sustaining some damage.

“You prepare for the worst and hope for the best with those sort of incidents,” Queensland Ambulance officer Mitch Ware said on Today.

A map showing the plane's flight path in the hour prior to landing at Gold Coast Airport. A map showing the plane's flight path in the hour prior to landing at Gold Coast Airport.

The plane circled the airport for an hour to burn off fuel, to minimise the risk of combusting, eventually touching down in what’s known as a “dark landing”. Source: Flightradar24

A spokesperson for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said “there is always a concern with these events” because “there is fuel that is obviously flammable”. A Gold Coast Airport spokeswoman said there aren’t any ongoing impacts to operations.

No ongoing impact to airport’s operations

“A light aircraft experienced a technical issue with its landing gear upon approach to Gold Coast Airport last night,” a spokesperson said.

“The experienced pilots on board landed the aircraft safely with the landing gear retracted. There are no ongoing impacts to airport operations.”

The two pilots, aged in their 40s and 60s, were assessed on scene by paramedics and later released.

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