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Plane with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross aboard forced to make emergency landing

The landing gear failed to retract, but no injuries were reported when the aircraft headed to Guatemala was forced to turn around.

A military plane flying Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Guatemala on Monday was forced to turn around and make an emergency landing at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland after its landing gear failed to retract.

IMAGE: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross speaks at the Milken Institute's 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on May 1, 2018.Mike Blake / Reuters file

A U.S. official said the plane circled while dumping fuel before returning to Andrews in the suburbs of Washington. Public flight tracking records showed the aircraft circling repeatedly before it landed about 39 minutes after it took off.

Ross and all others on board were unharmed. Ross transferred to another plane and took off for Guatemala, where he is leading the U.S. delegation to incoming President Alejandro Giammattei Falla's inauguration Tuesday.

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U.S. Air Mobility Command Public Affairs said the crew of the C-37 aircraft "was unable to retract the landing gear, and — following normal safety precautions — returned to Andrews and performed an aircraft swap, enabling the mission to continue."

"At no time was the aircraft in an unsafe configuration," it said.