A wheel on the right-hand side of the aircraft, which was flying from Exeter to Newcastle, dropped from the plane shortly after take-off.

According to reports, several passengers saw the wheel fall, but only one informed the cabin crew.

The captain then announced that there was a problem with the aircraft.

Many passengers believed the plane would crash when it attempted to land and texted their loved ones goodbye messages.

However, it was decided that the plane would return to Exeter and attempt a safe landing. After circling the airport for more than an hour to burn fuel, the captain touched the left main wheels down first and then gently lowered the remaining right wheel.

The plane veered slightly to the left upon reaching the runway but the captain managed to bring it down safely.

The captain had inspected the landing gear before take-off but did not notice any problems, the report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said.

The report found that the wheel came off after its outer bearing seized.

All 39 passengers and four crew members escaped uninjured.