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Sunday, March 18, 2007

President Howard in an emergency landing

President John Howard AustraliaYesterday Prime Minister John Howard’s plane was forced to make an emergency landing in war-torn Iraq when the cabin of the RAAF aircraft filled with thick smoke while he hat a top-secret visit to Baghdad. As the smoking C-130 Hercules landed at an army base 300km south-east of Baghdad, troops rushed Mr Howard from the tarmac, fearing the transport plane might explode. The Hercules filled with smoke soon after taking off from Tallil air base, carrying  military personnel and media. As it reached an altitude of 5000 feet, it turned around. The pilot made a rapid descent as passengers, wearing emergency gas masks, braced themselves for the landing. By the time the Hercules came to a shuddering halt on the tarmac two minutes later, smoke had engulfed the cabin and was billowing from the plane. Mr Howard was unhurt by the 14-minute ordeal and continued his trip to Baghdad aboard a second aircraft 20 minutes later. Passengers said later on that they where suffering headaches from the incident, which were caused by the steep descent. Mr Howard hat visit a war zone already in Afghanistan. On the tarmac, Mr Howard was seated in the cockpit with defence force chief Air Vice Marshal Angus Houston. PAN possible assistance necessary which is one step down from a mayday call. A PAN was declared and the pilot requested an immediate landing. After landing safely, Mr Howard was taken to a waiting helicopter and flown over the city to the secure diplomatic green zone. Mr Howard had never before visited the two war zones together. Mr Howard is expected to fly to Australia today. The Prime Minister visited some of the 550 Australian troops at Kamp Holland, in Afghanistan, in the Tarin Kowt region, where they are helping to rebuild schools, hospitals and mosques.

posted by Monique at 3:40 pm  

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