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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 09:37 GMT
Japan plane in emergency landing
The All Nippon Airways plane after it made an emergency landing at an airport in Kochi, south-west Japan Tuesday, March 13, 2007.
Emergency crews were at the ready as the plane landed

A Japanese plane has made a dramatic emergency landing at Kochi airport, sliding along the runway on its nose.

The front wheels of the Bombardier DHC-8 failed to deploy, and sparks shot from the bottom of bodywork as it skidded down the runway.

The All Nippon Airways (ANA) plane was carrying 60 people from Osaka to Kochi - none of whom were harmed.

ANA, Japan's second largest carrier, has grounded its entire fleet of Bombardier planes pending an inquiry.

The first time the plane attempted to land, it took off again just before touch down when the pilot realised he was having technical problems.

The plane circled the airport for more than an hour, to use up its fuel before attempting a second landing.

It eventually landed on its rear wheels, then skidded several hundred metres down the runway on its nose.

Fire engines were on hand to spray flame retardant on the aircraft as it came to a standstill.

The passengers applauded as the plane came safely to a halt.

Aviation expert Soichi Kaji told Japanese media: "It was almost a perfect emergency landing."

"Apparently the pilot was very calm and did just as he was trained," Mr Kaji said.

The cause of the failure is not yet known, according to an ANA spokesman.

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