An El Al flight made an emergency stop during takeoff after a warning light signaled that a door wasn't closed, Haaretz learned yesterday. A passenger upset by the stop disembarked, delaying the takeoff even further.
El Al reported the event to the aviation authorities, but not to the media.
The incident took place on September 8, around 7:30 P.M, when a Paris-bound Boeing 757 accelerating on the runway suddenly braked and stopped. It then taxied back to the terminal to undergo checks. A passenger asked to disembark due to the emergency stop, and the time needed to locate her suitcase further delayed the flight. Eventually the plane took off without further incidents.
El Al said in a statement that while preparing to take off, the crew noticed a warning light was on. "The plane returned to the terminal and took off after further checks. El Al never compromises on flight and passenger safety," the airline said.
A state comptroller report on civil aviation safety released last week said most accidents occur during takeoff and landing. An aviation expert told Haaretz that an airline can halt the takeoff process only if it hasn't reached a certain speed. Halting a plane during takeoff involves several risks - the tires could blow up, or the break pads could catch fire. After making an emergency stop, a plane needs to wait "a considerable time" for the brakes to cool off, the expert said.
This is not the first time El Al has had to halt a takeoff for technical reasons. In September 2009, an El Al Boeing 747 carrying 350 passengers made an emergency stop while preparing to take off at Heathrow Airport in London, over concerns of an engine malfunction. Earlier, in May 2009, an El Al Boeing 737 with 81 passengers on board took off from Ben-Gurion International Airport with one of its doors not fully closed. This was discovered once the plane was already airborne, and plane turned around and landed safely back at Ben-Gurion.
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