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Flight crash-lands; 1 taken to hospital

LONDON (AP) -- The nosewheel of a British Airways passenger jet collapsed with a loud bang as it landed Friday at London City Airport, sending the plane scraping across the tarmac with 71 people aboard, officials and witnesses said. All aboard escaped by emergency slides, but one person was taken to a hospital with a minor injury.

BA Flight 8456 was flying from Amsterdam to London when its front landing gear failed.

"As a precaution the emergency slides were deployed and passengers were evacuated down the slides onto the runway," the airline said in a statement. "One passenger suffered a minor injury."

The airline said the Avro 146 RJ100 -- made by BAE Systems -- was carrying 67 passengers and four crew.

London firefighters said the plane crashed onto the runway around 8 p.m. (2000 GMT, 3 p.m. EST), and ambulance officials reported that four people were treated for minor injuries.

One of the passengers, Justin Fletcher, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that "there was obviously quite a loud bang as the plane scratched in. The stewards and stewardesses were quick to evacuate everyone off. There was a few scrapes and cuts due to hitting the asphalt. All in all everyone seems to be doing quite well now."

Passengers and crew were taken into the airport straight after the accident to be treated, and to be given food and drink.

The airport's only runway was closed after the incident and planes were being diverted to other airports in southeast England.

The government sent three investigators to the scene. The plane remained on the runway Friday evening, surrounded by fire trucks and maintenance crews.

London City Airport, in the eastern part of the British capital, is mainly used for domestic and European flights. It handles around 80,000 flights a year, with just over 3 million passengers. The airport is surrounded by water and aviation experts say pilots often experience difficult landings on the runway.

The crash-landing in London came a day after a commuter plane nose-dived into a suburban house in upstate New York, killing all 49 people aboard and one person in the home.