27 Dec 2008

'Nerve-racking' flight before emergency landing

2:46 pm on 27 December 2008

A passenger on a plane forced to make an emergency landing in Wellington on Friday evening says the experience was nerve-racking.

The Air New Zealand Link flight from Wellington to Christchurch had not gone far when a warning light came on, forcing the pilots to shut down one engine and turn back.

Helen Grindey-Siriman says that, once over Cook Strait, the plane filled with smoke and nosedived. Air New Zealand, however, denies that a nosedive occurred.

The incident caused Mrs Grindey-Siriman, her husband and young daughter to miss their connecting flight to Rarotonga.

She says the pilot told passengers after landing that an engine had overheated.

The aircraft, a 66-seater operated by Mt Cook Airlines, landed safely on one engine at Wellington airport. It had 65 passengers and four crew on board.

Air New Zealand says the cause of the malfunction is not yet known, but engineers will inspect the plane.