Warsaw: A Boeing airliner carrying 231 people from the US landed on its belly on Tuesday in Warsaw after its landing gear failed to open, triggering sparks and small fires. No one was hurt, but passengers described feeling severe stress as they prayed for a safe landing.

The pilots of the Polish LOT airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, discovered there was a problem before touching ground. They circled the 767 above the airport for about one hour before descending without lowering the wheels, said Przemyslaw Przybylski, a spokesman for the Warsaw airport.

The plane, escorted by two F-16 fighter jets, landed with nearly empty fuel tanks after dumping fuel in preparation for the emergency landing, LOT spokesman Leszek Chorzewski said.

"I was praying for the pilot not to lose control because we started to make circles over the airport. It was terrible," passenger Teresa Kowalik told reporters at the airport. "We owe everything to the pilot. He really did a great job."

A fire brigade laid out special flame retardant foam for the plane to land on. On landing, sparks flew from the engine and small fires erupted under the plane but were immediately put out by firefighters. The passengers evacuated the plane using an emergency slide.

The pilot told passengers four hours into the flight that the plane faced technical problems said a passenger who only gave her first name, Malgorzata.

"The pilot addressed us a number of times and said we should follow instructions. Later, a flight attendant said there might be a fire, and at that point people began to get nervous and uncertain," she said.

(Agencies)