By DAILY MAIL REPORTER..Edit by S W T Read
11th November 2011
Oops, one of our wheels is missing: Passengers see plane's landing gear fall apart on take-off (but don't bother to tell the crew)
As they gazed out of the plane window shortly after take-off, they were no doubt expecting to see little of note besides the scenic countryside below.
Passengers on the Flybe flight from Exeter to Newcastle were in fact faced with a terrifying sight – as one of the plane’s wheels dropped off in front of them.
After one of the travellers raised the alarm, the crew decided on a plan to land them safely back at the Devon airport.
They faced an agonising wait as the plane circled the runway for more than an hour to burn fuel, with some passengers sending goodbye messages to their family.
However, they needn’t have feared the worst, for the plane eventually touched down safely and all 39 passengers and four crew members escaped uninjured.
Martin Brown, 30, of North Tyneside, was on board the plane and alerted cabin crew after seeing the wheel fall off.
He said: "I looked out of the window and saw one of the wheels fall so I said to my colleague next to me “I don’t want to worry you, but I think I might have just seen the wheel come off” and we called the cabin crew over".
‘Then there was an announcement from the pilot to say there was a problem with the aircraft.
‘Luckily there was an aircraft technician onboard and he had a look and told the pilot what was wrong.’
We've all heard stories about when the wheel fell off, well this one did, and as for the jokes about wheels, don't go there!