Virgin flight for Las Vegas seen flying low over Seaford, Newhaven and Uckfield

A Virgin 747 is seen circling over Sussex, December 29 2014 after it developed a problem with its landing gear. Initial reports suggest one side of the landing gear is not deployed on the Gatwick to Las Vegas flight. Photo courtesy SWNS.
A Virgin 747 is seen circling over Sussex, December 29 2014 after it developed a problem with its landing gear. Initial reports suggest one side of the landing gear is not deployed on the Gatwick to Las Vegas flight. Photo courtesy SWNS.

A flight to Las Vegas which experienced technical difficulties was seen to fly low over East Sussex for around four hours this afternoon (Monday December 29).

Residents in Newhaven, Seaford, Peacehaven, Ringmer, Heathfield, Uckfield and Crowborough reported seeing the plane circling at low altitude.

The Virgin aeroplane VS43 took off from Gatwick at 11.45am but developed a technical fault which is understood to be a problem with its landing gear.

The plane has now landed safely while emergency services are in attendance to ensure passengers can disembark safely. The airport said there were no injuries.

Members of the Facebook group Seaford Noticeboard noticed the plane fly over the town several times.

Neil Smith said: “Was using a chainsaw in the garden, turned round and almost had a heart attack, was so low I thought it was in serious trouble.

“Used to live near Heathrow and never seen one so low on the coast. Hope passengers are okay.”

And Mike Irving added: “Landing gear is down but not the other two on wings, hope they get it sorted soon, must be terrifying for passengers and crew on the plane.”

Chairman of Lewes District Council Tony Nicholson said: “It was very close. It was right on top of our house in Seaford. It was extremely low.”

Allan Norbury from Church Street, Uckfield, said: “I thought seeing a plane flying so low over Uckfield was very strange, it was no more than a couple of thousand feet.

“At first I thought it was a new flight path, but I could clearly see the front landing gear was down and couldn’t see the rear landing gear, so I immediately thought something was wrong.

“It’s such a relief that it has landed safely.”