ATLANTA - A Delta Air Lines flight aboard a Boeing aircraft lost its nose tire moments before it was supposed to take off from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Saturday, according to air traffic control audio posted online.
The Delta Boeing 757 was cleared for takeoff and was taxiing on the runway when one of the nose wheels came loose and rolled off the runway behind the aircraft and down an embankment, according to the audio posted online by VASAviation.
"The 75 on the runway just lost the nose tire," a pilot, who identified themselves as being on the plane behind the Boeing 757, said over the radio.
"Thanks for that … sounds like we got a problem," the 757 pilot responds.
"Yeah, we saw that tire roll off the runway to the south," the other pilot says. "Looks like it went off the runway, probably down the bank down there."
The pilots and air traffic control can be heard discussing getting a maintenance crew out onto the runway to locate the tire as other aircraft preparing for takeoff were forced to wait behind the disabled plane.
FOX 5 Atlanta reached out to the FAA for comment:
"Delta Air Lines Flight 982 lost a nose wheel while preparing for takeoff at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport around 11:15 a.m. local time on Saturday, Jan. 20. The passengers deplaned and were bused to the terminal. The Boeing 757 was headed to El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Columbia. The FAA will investigate. Please contact the airline for additional information."
Eventually, the other planes were rerouted while the Delta Boeing 757 was forced to sit on the runway for about three hours while waiting to be towed, according to VASAviation.
Delta Air Lines released the following statement to FOX 5 Atlanta:
"Delta Flight 982 ATL/BOG was taxiing for departure when a nose wheel tire came loose from the gear. All customers and their bags were transferred to the gate and onto a replacement aircraft. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience. The aircraft was removed from service for repairs."
FOX 5 Atlanta reporter Tyler Fingert contributed to this report.