Plane scare shakes passengers
Sun, 08 May 2011 6:00p.m.
By Tony Reid
Onboard Air New Zealand flight 417 to Wellington, moments after its right engine went down, passengers feared for their lives.
“I just literally thought we were going to die, I thought this was it,” says one passenger, Brian Childs.
“We heard this like a thump and then the plane just basically corkscrewed up and down and left and one of the hostesses fell over and cut her arm a bit,” another passenger, Simon Hoffman, says.
The pilot explained to the 95 passengers what he knew. In the minutes before, there were terrifying scenes.
“One of the gentlemen had gone really white and they were running almost up the cabin which was frightening for us because we didn't know what was happening and pulling the curtain across, obviously it was serious,” says passenger Lorraine Cunneen.
The 737-300 departed Auckland at 9.30 this morning. It got into trouble above New Plymouth, then turned round and headed back for Auckland.
“It was just a loud bang and I thought it was the front wheel or the hatch had come loose or open or whatever but the plane lurched one way then the other then started to dive,” says Mr Childs.
In the end the plane landed safely in Hamilton with emergency services on standby.
Air New Zealand wouldn't be interviewed on camera but told 3 News low oil pressure in the right engine caused the pilot to shut the engine down. Engineers are working to find out what caused the problem, and the plane has been grounded until further notice.
When the plane did land, there were cheers for the pilot. Most passengers were relieved to be alive, but one never had a doubt.
From Hamilton they were taken by bus back to Auckland airport, and put on new flights to Wellington.
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9/05/2011 8:00:33 a.m.
I was on the flight and it was pretty scary for a moment or two. The crew were brilliant. Calm and collected and giving us all the info they had in a reassuring way.
The same can't be said for Air NZ's support after we landed. They announced over the Public Address that there were buses to ship us back to Auckland and that was virtually the last time anyone spoke to us. Nobody was down at the bus stop to tell us which bus to get on, and when we had completed the 2 hour trip to Auckland, nobody was there to meet us and tell us what to do.
Apart from the water and sugary snacks the crew gave us from the flight, most of us had not eaten since breakfast and some people were probably suffering from a bit of shock. After 5 hours in their care (and a further 2 hours worth of travel to go) we were not offered anything in the way of proper food or drink. We were reassigned seats in later flights and then abandoned.
They have promised to provide support following a "review" of the flight, but nobody took our contact details and I received the following from their email address:
"Responses are predicated on the time required to investigate your correspondence however we will endeavour to respond within 15 to 20 working days of receipt of your email. We hope to return to our normal 5 to 10 working day turnaround time as soon as possible."
Great crew, crap post flight service.
8/05/2011 7:46:47 p.m.
I was on the 8.30 from WTGN to AKL this morning and they were having issues with the engine and refuelling... not sure if it was the same plane though that was going back down to WGTN at 9.30.
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