Emergency landing shuts runway at Heathrow Airport

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British Airways planes are docked at Terminal 5 Heathrow airport in west London on January 21, 2013 after the airport announced further flight cancellations due to adverse weather.

Credit:

ANDREW COWIE

A British Airways jetliner with 75 passengers on board was forced to return and make an emergency landing at Heathrow not long after it initially took off, closing runways and fueling speculation about what had caused the trouble. 

All the passengers were swiftly evacuated from the Airbus SAS A319, reported Bloomberg, which added that images of the plan showed smoke "streaming from the aircraft's right-hand engine" as it descended over London.

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After the landing, both of Heathrow's runways were closed, although the south runway has now been reopened, notes CNN. The flight had been headed for Oslo, Norway when the incident took place. 

"The aircraft landed safely and emergency slides were deployed and we are currently caring for our customers," said a British Airways spokesperson, according to the Wall Street Journal, which added that carrier will perform a full investigation. 

"We don't want to make a premature announcement on the nature of the technical fault," said the spokesman. "We are looking at the structure of the aircraft and carrying out tests."

London Mayor Boris Johnson congratulated the pilot on the safe landing, wrote the Telegraph. "I congratulate obviously the pilot and everybody involved and the LFB and I am very very glad everyone is safe and as they always say flying remains, statistically, one of the safest modes of transport," he said. 

Passenger David Gallagher was able to tweet most of the incident: