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Kuwait Jet Carrying Bush Loses Part of Wing, Lands

April 13, 1993|From Times Wire Services

HOUSTON — A Kuwait Airways Boeing 747 jet carrying former President George Bush and his wife, Barbara, on a trip to Kuwait made an emergency landing here Monday after part of the left wing peeled away, aviation officials said.

None of the 59 people aboard the plane were injured when it landed at Houston Intercontinental Airport, about an hour after it left Ellington Field, about 20 miles south. The Bushes returned to their Houston home, and a spokesman, Andrew Maner, said the former President's departure for Kuwait was rescheduled for this afternoon on another Kuwait Airways jet.

Kuwaitis have prepared an extravagant welcome for Bush, a national hero for his leadership in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, which liberated the emirate from Iraq.

One merchant has donated 96 bottles of imported perfume, asking that it be sprayed along the route of Bush's motorcade. A Kuwaiti Bedouin has offered a prize racing camel as a gift, and the wife of a former prisoner of war wants to give Bush a key chain and a string of worry beads her husband made in captivity.

"It is going to be festive and, if security will let them, I think Kuwaitis will carry his car," said Fuad Hashem, a columnist for a Kuwaiti newspaper.

Bush was also to tour oil installations damaged during the war and inspect U.S. troops on maneuvers.

Maner said the craft also carried Bush's son, Neil, and his wife, Sharon, George Bush Jr.'s wife, Laura, two Bush staff members, about 15 Secret Service agents and Kuwaiti government officials.

The pilot, Husam Shamlan, said "the aircraft was in no danger."

He said the plane was about 33,000 feet over Louisiana when it seemed to hit turbulence. The left wing's skin was starting to peel away, causing the wing to flap.

Aviation officials were investigating the incident.

The jumbo jet had been sent by the Emir of Kuwait to fly the Bushes for their three-day visit.

It was headed to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where it was to pick up former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, his wife and some other former Bush Administration officials before proceeding to Kuwait.

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