By David Jones
NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - A US Airways flight made an emergency landing on its belly at Newark Liberty International Airport early on Saturday after the plane's landing gear failed to deploy, but no one was injured, airline and government officials said.
Piedmont Airlines flight 4560, operating for US Airways from Philadelphia with 34 passengers and three crew members, landed safely at 1 a.m., and passengers were evacuated on the tarmac and transported to the terminal, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said in an email.
Belly landings are unusual and dangerous because of the threat of fire from the plane fuselage skidding on a hard surface, according to aviation experts.
The airport was closed for more than an hour, and the runway was closed for more than eight hours following the incident, officials said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a Twitter post that it was investigating. A US Airways spokesman said the plane is a Dash 8-100 with a capacity of 37 passengers. The plane was made by De Havilland of Canada, which is owned by Bombardier Inc.
The plane left Philadelphia late on Friday night and the pilot made an emergency declaration after the left main landing gear failed to deploy, according to airline and FAA officials. The pilot circled the airport and then decided to land with no gear deployed.
The incident comes nearly three weeks after a Scandinavian Airlines plane with 252 people on board clipped the wing of an ExpressJet, operated by Skywest Inc., with 31 passengers as they were preparing to take off from the same airport. There were no injuries.
(Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Greg McCune and Eric Beech)