Enroute to Guatemala aboard Air Force Two on Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris and her entourage encountered a technical issue onboard, forcing a return to Joint Base Andrews.
Air Force Two Diverts After Landing Gear Issue
Vice President Harris was using a Boeing 757 (VC-32) for the journey to Guatemala City. But strange noises around the landing gear prompted a return to Andrews. Harris spokeswoman Symone Sanders noted, “The landing gear was not storing as it should which could lead to further mechanical issues. While there was no immediate safety issue, out of an abundance of caution, they returned to Joint Base Andrews.”
Others onboard in the White House Press Pool confirmed an “unusual noise” around the landing gear, but noted the landing was “completely normal.”
After a smooth landing at Andrews, passengers were transferred to a replacement jet of the same type and shortly after took off once again for Guatemala City, this time arriving without issue.
As she stepped of the faulty aircraft, Harris told reporters:
“I’m good. I’m good. We all said a little prayer, but we’re good.”
Harris is on her first foreign trip as Vice President, visiting both Guatemala and Mexico this week to address security and immigration concerns. She is due to return to Washington, DC later today.
The Boeing C-32 (757s) used for vice presidential and occasionally presidential transport were delivered in 1998 and are not currently being considered for replacement. Meanwhile, a new 747-8 is being modified to serve as the next-generation Air Force One.
Last September, Air Force Two was forced to make an emergency landing in Manchester, New Hampshire with Vice President Mike Pence onboard due to a bird strike.
Neither President Donald Trump or Joe Biden, thus far, have encountered mechanical issues while traveling.
The diversion of Air Force Two was likely unnecessary, but with a trio of back-up aircraft, there was no need to risk it. While a new Air Force One is under development, Air Force Two will not be updated anytime soon.
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image: United States Department of State