- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2011

WARSAW (AP) — A Boeing 767 carrying 231 people from the United States landed on its belly in Warsaw on Tuesday after its landing gear failed to open, triggering sparks and small fires. No one was injured.

The pilots of the LOT Polish Airlines flight from Newark, N.J., discovered a problem with the chassis ahead of touching ground. They circled the aircraft above the airport for about an hour before descending without the landing wheels, said Przemyslaw Przybylski, a spokesman for the Warsaw airport.

LOT spokesman Leszek Chorzewski said the plane landed with nearly empty fuel tanks after dumping fuel in preparation for the emergency landing.

A fire brigade laid out special flame-retardant foam for the plane to land on. On landing, sparks flew from the engine and small fires erupted under the plane but were immediately put out by firefighters.

Passengers could be seen evacuating the plane. They were then taken to a medical center to be examined by doctors, Mr. Przybylski said.

“There was no panic among the passengers. The cabin crew prepared them for the emergency landing well,” LOT President Marcin Pirog told reporters.

Mr. Pirog said Capt. Tadeusz Wrona and First Officer Jerzy Szwartz carried out a “perfect emergency landing,” which prevented anyone from being injured.

“It is the first time a LOT plane had to land without the landing gear out,” Mr. Pirog said, adding that such landings do not always end well.

The airport has been closed until 8 a.m. local time (3 a.m. EDT) on Wednesday. Flights scheduled to land in Warsaw have been diverted to Lodz, Gdansk and Krakow.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski congratulated and thanked the crew for their successful landing.