Hard Landing Temporarily Halts Flights at San Diego International

June 24, 2024
A United Airlines flight carrying 162 people popped a right rear main tire when it touched down at San Diego International Airport Sunday night, temporarily diverting all incoming flights.

A United Airlines flight carrying 162 people popped a right rear main tire when it touched down at San Diego International Airport Sunday night, temporarily diverting all incoming flights.

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department sent three rescue rigs to the airfield about 10 p.m. on a report of a plane “coming in with equipment trouble,” a Fire-Rescue spokesperson said. FlightAware.com, a flight tracking website, indicated United Flight 540 was inbound from Denver and landed about 16 minutes later. The plane was a Boeing 737-800, according to the website.

Fire crews and airport personnel were able to help guide the plane off the runway and to an airport gate where passengers disembarked uninjured.

First responders said they investigated a source of smoke after the hard landing, although no specific cause was given after observers used infrared cameras to look for telltale heat signatures within the plane’s fuselage, according to emergency radio traffic broadcast during the incident.

A fire department representative said Sunday night that the plane reported a “hot brake” before landing.

“Our rescue crews responded and the plane landed but had some tire damage. Our crews assessed the smoke from the tires to be sure there was no fire. No one on board was injured,” a spokesperson later said.

A United spokesperson said by email Monday morning only that the flight “experienced tire damage after arriving in San Diego on Sunday night.”

The company did not answer questions about how the plane’s pilot was able to predict that damage, radioing ahead to give fire crews and airport personnel adequate time to prepare.

Fire personnel cleared the call shortly before 10:45 p.m.

Staff writer Karen Kucher contributed to this report.

©2024 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Visit sandiegouniontribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.