A Virgin Atlantic plane made a successful emergency landing this afternoon after circling over West Sussex to burn off fuel.
The pilot made a “non-standard landing procedure” at Gatwick airport after the plane developed problems with its landing gear.
Flight VS43, which was en route to Las Vegas, turned back to the West Sussex airport after taking off this morning.
The aircraft circled repeatedly between Gatwick and the South Coast apparently to burn off fuel.
According to eyewitnesses, one of the five landing gears on the Boeing 747 jumbo jet had failed to deploy.
Virgin said: “Virgin Atlantic can confirm that flight VS43 on December 29, travelling to McCarran International Airport Las Vegas, returned to Gatwick due to a technical issue with one of the landing gears.
“The aircraft is preparing to implement a non-standard landing procedure at Gatwick airport. A further update will be issued as soon as possible.”
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was on standby at Gatwick following the alert.
A Gatwick spokesman said: “There is a Virgin Atlantic aircraft looking to return to Gatwick.”
Eyewitnesses reported that the jet was flying at a relatively low altitude and that the pilot appeared to be trying to shake the landing gear down.
The plane successfully landed at Gatwick just before 4pm.