'The plane just kept shaking': Passenger describes terror over emergency landing

Bay of Plenty Times,
Publish Date
Friday, 19 July 2019, 3:39PM
An Air NZ Link plane had to make an emergency landing at Tauranga Airport this afternoon. Photo / Andrew Warner
An Air NZ Link plane had to make an emergency landing at Tauranga Airport this afternoon. Photo / Andrew Warner

Hannah Cheal said it was a relief to be back on ground after a stressful plane ride today.

Cheal was one of 41 passengers on board a Link Air New Zealand plane that had to make an emergency landing at Tauranga Airport after one if its engines had to be shut down.

It was not yet known what the cause of the shut down was.

Clearly shaken up she said it was while flying over mountains that she realised something was wrong.

"I felt a bang and then started to see some smoke come from the engine.

"The plane just kept shaking."

"I could see the mountains and then the plane started shaking because apparently it is so the ice doesn't settle in the engines.

"But then there was a big shock and it felt like something hit the propeller. I could see some smoke and then the whole plane was freaking out."

She said while she was still shook up she was happy to be safe and on ground.

"It just makes me realise how important my life is."

Waiting for Cheal was Kirsty Hooker who said her heart stopped when she saw all the police and fire engines pull up.

"I was really worried but when I saw the plane land it was such a relief.

"When it came into sight there was only one engine. It's that heart in your mouth moment."

Another passenger who spoke on the condition of anonymity said it was f****** beautiful to be back on land.

"The plane vibrated for a good 10 minutes and then I opened the window [shade] and saw the engine had just stopped working.

"There were two ladies in front of my that were scared and started crying so I just tried to encourage them.

He said the pilots deserved a lot of praise for getting all the passengers on ground safely.

"I have been in worse landings and this one was great considering what happened."

An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said pilots chose to shut down one engine on the Wellington to Tauranga plane as a precaution after an indication in the flight deck of a potential issue with this engine.

Q300 aircraft are designed and certified to operate safely on a single engine and pilots are trained for this scenario.

"In line with standard procedures, airport-based emergency services were on standby as a precautionary measure," she said.

She said it was not an emergency landing and the aircraft will be inspected by engineers.

A Tauranga Airport Rescue Firefighter said one engine had to be shut down and the emergency landing was safe.

He said there were 41 passengers on the plane and had disembarked - none appeared to be injured.

A police media spokesman said police were on standby at the airport for if they needed to assist firefighters.

One flight from Tauranga to Wellington has been cancelled as a result of the landing.

Tauranga Airport manager Ray Dumble said he was happy with the way the airport handled the situation.

Dumble said if he recalled correctly, this was the first time this it had happened in his 17 years working at the airport.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) senior communications Blake Crayton-Brown said situations like this are investigated in the first instance by the airlines.

He said there was nothing to indicate the CAA would need to investigate as it seemed to be handled well.

Crayton-Brown said these things happened often and pilots were well-trained in dealing with emergencies, which he said the pilot demonstrated.

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