Elton John’s Private Jet Forced to Make Emergency Landing
Elton John is safe and sound after a harrowing in-flight emergency yesterday (Feb. 22) where his private jet suffered a hydraulic failure at 10,000 feet in altitude and the pilot was forced to land amid treacherous weather conditions and the wheels finally touched the ground on the third attempt.
News of the nearly catastrophic event was reported by British tabloid outlet The Sun where it was said that the musical superstar was en route from the U.K. to New York to play a show at Madison Square Garden on his ongoing "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour.
The jet suffered hydraulic failure approximately one hour into the flight and at nearly two miles up in the air and, as a result, the pilot had to turn the plane around and head back to the Farnborough airport in England. Adding to the trouble, fierce winds with gusts reportedly up to 80 miles per hour meant a smooth landing would not be easy.
With the runway cleared for landing, ambulance and firefighter crews rushed to the scene to ready themselves for any possibility as Elton John's private jet prepared to return to the tarmac.
"The terrible weather and epic gusts made it almost impossible to land. Two attempts to touch down failed," plumber Philip Thomson, who was working as the events transpired, told The Sun.
He continued, "The plane was being buffeted [battered by heavy winds] and couldn’t make it. The aircraft’s nose was far too vertical. The plane was descending and was halfway along the runway when it gave up trying to hit the tarmac. It soared back in the air. A crowd had gathered after word went around that Elton was in difficulty. And as the plane came around again for a second attempt to land, the storm was doing its worst."
"The airport’s windsock was horizontal and the aircraft was being rocked from side to side by the wind," Thomson said of the conditions at the airport. "The pilot made a valiant attempt to get down with the jet ‘crabbing’ into the storm. But it didn’t make it and had to head back upwards," he went on. "It was only at the third attempt to land that the plane got down. The pilot made a flatter approach and the wind had dropped slightly. Everyone watching was mightily relieved."
Elton John was said to be "shaken" by the experience, but, with a show to play that night, he boarded another flight to New York and was onstage as scheduled.
To see the legend's upcoming tour dates, visit his website.