A Delta Air Lines plane, Flight 469 on October 3, taking off from Israel's Ben Gurion Airport last week lost a back wheel and part of the braking system during takeoff.
Despite the missing components, the plane landed safely at New York's JFK airport, according to reports.
The debris “plunged down onto the runway” and was left there for some five hours, during which 10 further flights took off from the same runway, because a warning system highlighting the danger was dismissed as a false alarm.
A radar system at Ben Gurion designed to warn of debris on the runway triggered an alarm in the control tower, which should have led to the runway’s immediate closure, an alert to Delta, and the clearing of the debris. But for unknown reasons, a controller in the tower concluded it was a false alarm.
Only with daybreak were the scattered parts seen on the runway, which was then closed and cleared. According to the report, authorities do not know why the wheel and parts of the braking system fell away.
Israeli and American flight safety authorities are investigating both the damage to the plane and Ben Gurion Airport’s mishandling of the runway debris. The incident is considered “extremely serious.”