Hero BA pilot emerges from cockpit to address passengers after emergency landing

A British Airways pilot was cheered by relieved passengers after making an emergency landing at Gatwick when the plane started leaking hydraulic fluid.

The captain, who hasn’t been identified, told terrified customers "I didn’t want to put you through this today" as he stood in the cabin moments after landing.

Passengers are seen crying and visibly shaken in footage posted online by Israeli model and socialite Hofit Golan.

But they clap and cheer the hero pilot as he thanks them for remaining calm as the flight from Naples took a sharp detour at about 12.30am this morning.

The aircraft, which was carrying multiple groups of school pupils, required towing from the runway and the landing resulted in a spill of hydraulic fluid.

In footage posted shortly after landing by Hofit – who was once branded Israel’s answer to Paris Hilton – she declares "Our pilot was a hero."

Speaking on the Tannoy the pilot can be heard telling passengers: "I didn’t want to put you through this but once again I thank you for all your patience and understanding.

"We are now safely here. Safe onward journey and thank you for flying British Airways."

Hofot then filmed herself leaving the Airbus A320 and passing the four fire engines waiting on the runway.

No-one was injured in the incident and passengers were able to disembark the plane a short time later.

Flights had to be diverted at Gatwick early this morning as the plane was inspected while on the runway.

Four flights were sent to Birmingham, two to Stansted and two to Luton before Gatwick’s stand-by runway was opened.

Among them was an easyJet service from Paphos and a TUI flight from Lanarca.

A Gatwick spokesperson said: "At 12.34am, we closed our main runway due to British Airways flight BA2605 inbound from Naples landing with a technical fault, resulting in the aircraft stopping on the runway whilst an inspection of the aircraft took place.

"The aircraft required towing from the runway and the landing resulted in a spill of hydraulic fluid.

"As an immediate result, a small number of aircraft were diverted away from Gatwick.

"During this time, our runway remained temporarily unavailable whilst we switched to our standby runway.’

A spokeswoman for British Airways added: "Our flight landed safely after our pilots requested a priority landing as a precaution after a technical fault.

"The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority, and our engineers are currently conducting a thorough check of the aircraft."

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