Washington, Jun 7: A technical issue with the aircraft taking Kamala Harris to Guatemala and Mexico on her first foreign visit had to return about 30 minutes after takeoff, with the US Vice President telling reporters that she and her delegation "said a little prayer" before the plane landed safely.
"I'm good. I'm good," she told reporters, giving a thumbs-up after exiting the Air Force Two aircraft on Sunday.
Harris, who was en route to the two Latin American countries on Sunday, safely returned to Joint Base Andrews on the outskirts of Washington after the Air Force Two aircraft, a modified Boeing 757 which is mostly used as the vice president's travel, had a "technical issue," according to her chief spokesperson and senior adviser Symone Sanders.
"It is a technical issue. There are no major safety concerns," Sanders said.
The crew "noticed the landing gear was not storing as it should which could lead to further mechanical issues. While there was no immediate safety issue, out of an abundance of caution, they returned to Joint Base Andrews," Sanders said.
Harris, 56, later switched planes to continue the trip.
CNN, quoting a pool reporter on board Air Force Two reported that "there was an unusual noise that came from the landing gear when we took off but the landing back at JBA was completely normal."
"Everybody good?" she asked reporters. "I'm good, I'm good. We all said a little prayer but we're good," the vice president said.
Sunday's technical issue is not the first time airplane troubles have upset Harris' travel plans. Her plane experienced mechanical problems on a trip to California in March.
Harris will be in Guatemala and Mexico this week, her first foreign trip as vice president, amid political pressure to stem the flow of migrants to the US.
The stakes are high for Harris, the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected Vice President, as she debuts on the international stage against the backdrop of a growing number of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border.
In April alone, US Customs and Border Protection encountered more than 178,000 migrants, 44 per cent of whom were from Central America, according to US media reports