Monday, January 15, 2018

Raw video: Plane flies low over Stafford County, Virginia, before making emergency landing at Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD)

An Ethiopian Airlines plane flew low over parts of Stafford County Monday as it returned to Dulles International Airport for an emergency landing because of a possible mechanical problem.

The Boeing 777 en route to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, took off from Dulles at 11:40 a.m. before safely returning about an hour later, according to flight tracker website flightradar24. Andrew Trull, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said the plane turned around “out of an abundance of caution” after a warning light indicated a potential hydraulic failure.

It landed at Dulles without incident.

“Long story short: A mechanical issue caused the plane to return,” Trull said.

The plane was more than 9,000 feet above ground when it entered Stafford airspace, but its altitude dropped to 4,400 feet as it flew over Mountain View Road on its way back to Dulles.

Witnesses said the plane released fuel over Stafford, and a picture appears to back them up. It’s not uncommon for pilots to dump fuel—which vaporizes in the air—to lower a plane’s weight before an emergency landing.

Trull, the airports authority spokesman, said the plane “may have jettisoned some fuel to meet safe landing weight limits.”

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