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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Air New Zealand Boeing 767-300ER in emergency landing

The drama unfolded shortly before 3pm today when the Air NZ Boeing 767-300ER with 206 passengers and 10 crew on-board was forced to make an emergency landing following engine trouble.
Air NZ said the incident occurred just after flight NZ175 took off, when the aircraft was flying at around 548 metres, ”with bird strike a possibility''.
McCarthy praised the crew who were “wonderful, they kept us very well informed'', as did Eileen White who said most passengers remained ``relatively calm''.
A couple on their way to Perth to visit their son, who did not want to be named, said they had been airborne about 20 seconds when they heard two loud explosions.
The captain then informed passengers there had been an engine failure, the couple said. They were "more annoyed than scared''.
Denise Ferris prayed with her mother Hera Ferris as the plane made an emergency landing.
"It was really scary. When the plane took off there was this huge noise and the plane rocked, Denise said.
"When the pilot and stewardess came on we could tell by their voices they were really concerned." 
The pair were told by air crew to prepare for a fast landing.
"It's not really an experience I'd like to repeat. I said to my mother, 'we'll just have to pray'."
"We're still shaking. Hopefully the next flight won't be as dramatic."
Air New Zealand said the captain of the flight elected to shut down the left hand engine and briefed the passengers on-board, “including explaining that any flames seen from the engine is not unusual when it is shut down in flight.''
Passenger Judith Grieg said she "noticed the lady stewardess had a bit of a shaky voice and the pilot did too'', but that didn't alarm her.
"We figured there was nothing we could do. It sounds more dramatic than it is.''
An eyewitness, who did not want to be named, said he was driving from Manukau to Mangere Bridge when he saw explosions come from one of the aircraft’s engines.
``We were driving along and I was watching a plane climb and its left engine just threw some fire out the back.''
He said it was three ``decent balls of flame'', about the size of the engine itself, and about half a second apart.
``It was really quite something... It would've given the people on the plane, I'm sure, a hell of a fright.''
An Air NZ spokeswoman said there was no ``visible damage to the engine'' and engineers had begun an immediate inspection of the aircraft.
Passengers on the Auckland to Perth flight had been taken to Auckland's Sky City Hotel before departing on a replacement flight at 1am tomorrow.
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The Civil Aviation Authority said it had been told of the incident and would wait until it had further details before decided if an inquiry would begin.
The call sparked a full-scale alert, when all the airport fire tenders were turned out and appliances from the southern areas of Auckland raced to the airport.
The Fire Service said it was standard practice during an airport emergency to send additional machines.
A spokesman said if the airport tenders needed to pump foam on to a burning aircraft, water would be provided by appliances from other fire stations around the city.
An airport spokesman said it was deemed a full-scale emergency when the pilot radioed the control tower and reported the engine damage.
"The pilot indicated emergency services should attend,'' he said.
Air NZ had been flying Boeing 767s since the 1980s and the planes were due to be replaced by 787 Dreamliners, TVNZ reported.
Boeing 767s did not have a poor safety record, TVNZ said

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