Aviation News

June 9, 2011

Air New Zealand Engine Explosion Forces Emergency Landing

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By: BNO News
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An Air New Zealand flight was forced to make an emergency landing after a series of explosions in one of the aircraft’s engines, followed by flames, drew scares among passengers, local media reported Thursday.

Air New Zealand 767-300ER ZK-NCI taxis at LAX

Air New Zealand 767-300ER (ZK-NCI) taxis at LAX. (Photo by Mark Hsiung)

A Boeing 767-300ER (ZK-NCJ) aircraft carrying 206 passengers and operated by Air New Zealand on Thursday afternoon made an emergency landing at Auckland Airport after three explosions on one of the aircraft’s wings frightened passengers and reportedly caused flames and smoke, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Flight NZ175 took off at 2:25 p.m. local time from Auckland, New Zealand and was heading out to Perth, but only 30 minutes after take off, it was back on the ground.

According to several passengers who described the incident as “terrifying,” three loud explosions were heard, followed by flashes of light, flames, and smoke. The plane’s TV screens were cut off immediately after the explosions, the seat belt signs came on, and one of the flight attendants announced an emergency.

However, the plane was able to turn back and land safely in Auckland, where engineers inspected the aircraft’s engine during the night. According to the airline, the plane’s captain told passengers of the emergency landing, explaining that any flame seen from the engine was “not unusual when it is shut down in flight.”

No injuries were reported, and passengers were accommodated at hotels, as their flight was rescheduled for the following afternoon.

Meanwhile, Air New Zealand said a bird crashing into one of the engines was a possibility for the incident, but the reason of the explosions remains unclear, as an investigation into the engine fault has been launched.