09 May 2011

Eagle Emergency Landing at Gisborne

An Air New Zealand passenger aircraft on its way to Auckland was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing in Gisborne yesterday when an engine shut down. Ten minutes into the mid-morning direct flight from Gisborne to Auckland, pilots told passengers they had to shut down one of the Beechcraft aircraft’s two engines and turn back, a passenger said. “We were just about over Opotiki when the pilots told us we had to turn around and go back to Gisborne. “They were very calm at that stage,” said the man, who was aboard the Beechcraft 1900D 19-seater with his 16-year-old son. “We were pretending to be calm but really we were shitting ourselves. “When you actually see the propeller stop, you get a bit worried. My son pointed to it and just shook his head.” A couple of people were crying, including a young girl on her very first flight, he said. “The pilots did really, really well. “Instead of being told ‘thank you for flying with us . . . exit through gate whatever’, they told us to reread the emergency protocol before we landed. “That was pretty freaky but the landing was sweet and the pilots were really calm. “We gave them a clap after we touched down. “They did a great job . . . but I really don’t want it to happen again.” Most people on the flight got on to another flight to Auckland about an hour later. Gisborne Airport staff are looking into the incident but could not comment this morning. Air New Zealand Gisborne staff would not comment.

Air New Zealand spokesman Mark Street said "erroneous power readings from the left hand engine" were the reason behind the incident. "The captain elected to shut down that engine as a precaution, the aircraft has been inspected, tested and is back in service after the engine was found to be without fault."

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