NEWBURGH, N.Y. – A private jet carrying rapper Post Malone blew two tires during takeoff at a small New Jersey airport on Tuesday but made a safe emergency landing hours later in upstate New York, prompting the rapper to thank fans who prayed for him and diss those who “wished death” on him while he was in the air.
The face-tattooed singer/rapper, who had been headed to England, tweeted, “i landed guys.”
“Oh, my God, I hate flying in general. I don’t even know what to say, man. I’m shook,” he told the celebrity website TMZ on Facetime. “There was one hell of a team on that aircraft, and we’re here, we’re here on earth, and I need a beer, and I need some wine, at the same time, mixed together.”
The plane had 16 people on board when it left Teterboro Airport on Tuesday morning, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
Fans gathered at New York Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, about 70 miles (112 kilometres) north of New York City, after hearing the rapper was on board, and they cheered when the plane landed just before 4 p.m. The rapper was scheduled to perform at the Reading and Leeds Festival in England over the weekend, according to his website’s tour schedule.
“thank you for your prayers,” he posted on Twitter after Tuesday’s emergency landing. “can’t believe how many people wished death on me on this website.”
The troubled Gulfstream IV was en route from Teterboro to London Luton Airport in Luton, England, when the pilot realized shortly after takeoff that the tires had blown. The pilot circled the airport for about 30 minutes before the jet was diverted.
The plane originally was to attempt an emergency landing at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport in Massachusetts, airport manager Eric Billowitz said. It circled over Connecticut to burn fuel, a practice sometimes used to decrease the risk of explosion and fire during emergency landings.
Post Malone had been in the New York area on Monday for the MTV Video Music Awards, where he won the song of the year prize.
A small group of the curious and fans who had heard he was on the plane on Tuesday initially gathered at the airport in Westfield, Massachusetts, hoping to watch the landing.
“We came down because he had the biggest day of his life yesterday and we wanted to make sure he is safe,” said Jessica Kielb, of Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Dom Henry drove to the New York airport with friends as soon as he heard the plane would be landing there instead. He was one of several fans, mostly teenagers, who anxiously waited for the plane behind the chain link fence surrounding the runway.
“I was praying,” he said.
Asked whether he was praying for Post Malone’s safety, he said, “Yeah, of course. And to see him.”
Anthony DeStefano saw the plane descend and said it appeared to have a normal landing, with no unusual noise or other indications of a problem. DeStefano, a local teacher, acknowledged being unfamiliar with Post Malone until his nephew informed him.
“Great job by the pilot,” DeStefano said. “People started clapping as soon as it landed.”
Billowitz said he was told the plane was first headed to the Massachusetts airport because there is a Gulfstream service centre there and because the airport has “one of the longest runways in the Northeast” at 9,000 feet (2,740 metres), but the plane was then diverted to Stewart.
Stewart’s signature feature is a nearly 12,000-foot (3,650-meter) runway, long enough to handle the fat-bodied C-5A Galaxy planes laden with supplies and better for such emergencies.
Post Malone took home the song of the year award at the VMAs for his hit “Rockstar,” featuring 21 Savage. The song is from his latest album, “Beerbongs & Bentleys.”
The 23-year-old was joined on stage by rockers Aerosmith and 21 Savage for a wild performance that closed out the awards show.
Associated Press writers David Porter in Newark, New Jersey, and Pat Eaton-Robb in Westfield, Massachusetts, contributed to this report.