22 Jun 2018

Emergency landing at Napier airport after engine failure

6:36 pm on 22 June 2018

Air New Zealand says there was no engine fire on a plane that had to make an emergency landing at Napier Airport this afternoon.

The plane which was forced to make an emergency landing at Hawke's Bay Airport.

The plane which was forced to make an emergency landing at Hawke's Bay Airport. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

The airline says one engine on the aircraft experienced surging shortly after take-off.

This resulted in engine fuel burning unevenly, leading to the engine back firing, similar to that seen in cars.

The intermittently rich fuel mix resulted in short flashes being seen near the engine's exhaust. The engine was shut down and the aircraft landed without further incident.

Air New Zealand said the aircraft involved was an ATR72-500, which was designed to operate safely on one engine and pilots were trained for this scenario.

Engineers have since checked the aircraft and confirmed there was no fire, and no visible damage to the engine.

A passenger told RNZ that five minutes after the plane took off from Napier, bound for Auckland, loud noises were heard and the plane started shuddering.

Nicholas Chang was sitting near the plane's wing when the issues began.

"It just started backfire, or misfiring, and you can sort of see... bits of fire coming out from the exhaust part of the turbine.

"It was just a little bit freaky when it started backfiring because you kind of don't know, will it do anything after that."

Mr Chang said the crew were amazing and remained calm throughout the incident.

The plane landed safely and the estimated 50 people on board are being transferred to other flights.

Air New Zealand said emergency services were on standby as a precaution.