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El Al 707 Makes Belly Landing; 84 Passengers Aboard Unhurt

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An El Al Boeing 707 made a belly landing at Lod Airport today after its landing gear failed but none of the 84 passengers aboard was hurt. Most of the passengers were Italian tourists.

The pilot, Capt. Yoav Peleg, radioed the Lod control tower that the hydraulic system operating the landing gear was not working and that the wheels were not properly engaged. Fire engines and ambulances sped on to the runway as the airliner touched down. Its wheels collapsed and the impact caused a fire which was swiftly extinguished.

Moments after the plane slid to a stop the emergency doors were opened and the passengers came out safely. El Al has appointed a committee to investigate the accident. An airline spokesman said the aircraft would be out of service for several days but that El Al’s schedule would not be affected.

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