Plane loses wheel, lands safely at Wanaka Airport

 - Video: Mark Price

A plane which was forced to circle Wanaka Airport after losing a wheel has landed "skidding along the runway".

It was understood to be burning fuel before attempting a crash landing.

An ambulance was waiting at the airport for Flight ZKDEB - which left Twizel this morning - to attempt the landing.

The plane - a Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee - had a pilot and two passengers onboard.

The plane landed safely after circling the airport for a time. Photo: Mark Price
The plane landed safely after circling the airport for a time. Photo: Mark Price
It is understood all aboard were young people, and that the pilot had just 100 hours of flying experience.

Parents of one of the people on board declined to speak to the media.

The plane belongs to Classic Flights Ltd owned by Hong Cheng and Yan Wang of Harbin City, China, and Junji Li, of Auckland.

It is one of the two flying schools at Wanaka Airport.

"It landed about 10 minutes ago, touched down and skidded to a halt," an eyewitness told the Herald about 12.45pm.

"They are lifting it off the runway now."

Fire and Emergency New Zealand shift manager Andrew Norris said the plane landed safely with all three passengers unharmed and without further damage to the aircraft.

"Everything is happy, everyone is happy," he said.

He said earlier they had three units on site and were waiting for a decision to be made by airport staff and the pilot.

Wanaka Airport manager Ralph Fegan said the aircraft was circling the field to burn fuel before attempting to land.

Fegan, who was helping co-ordinate the emergency response, said he understood the plane had lost a wheel.

 - additionally reported by Mark Price

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