IG news Update,
A WestJet plane flying from Kamloops, B.C., to Calgary, Alta., on Thursday afternoon was diverted to Kelowna International Airport due to engine problems.
Kelowna RCMP Cast. Michael Della-Paolera said both the local RCMP and fire departments responded to support airport emergency crews.
He added that thanks to the quick response, the plane landed safely and the airport resumed normal operations.
“It was a little scary for us, but it seems like it was pretty routine for them,” he said.
‘in God’s hands’
Megan Norton was one of the passengers on the plane.
“I was sitting by a window. Actually, right next to the engine that had failed,” she said. “There was a pretty loud bang and kind of a rattle. I thought, holy sh-t, it sounds like a motor coming out.”
Norton says he texted his mother and shot a video as soon as he heard the plane’s engines shut down and saw smoke coming out of the window.
“There were some women behind me who were crying and struggling with their anxiety,” she said. “But it is what it is – you are in God’s hands.”
Norton says the flight attendant told everyone to put on seat belts saying there was a minor complication with the right engine and reassured passengers that things were under control.
Afterwards, she said the pilot told everyone on board that an engine had failed, but that he would be able to return them safely to Kelowna.
Philip Elchitz, senior manager of airport operations at Kelowna International Airport, told CBC News in an interview that the mechanical problem occurred shortly after takeoff, known as an “engine out” – when a plane shuts down on one of its engines. Loses power in one but can fly using the engine which is still working.
“At approximately 3:40 this afternoon we were notified of a mechanical problem on a commercial flight,” Elchitz said.
“YLW has activated our emergency response procedures and I am pleased to say that the flight arrived safely … and all passengers were safely disembarked.”
There were reports that the plane’s engine caught fire in mid-air, but Elchitz said that the plane was not on fire when it landed.
“The aircraft mechanics have to assess the aircraft,” he said. “We’re not sure what the level of damage is.”
In a statement to CBC, a WestJet spokesperson confirmed that one of its planes had to make an emergency landing.
“WestJet Encore flight 3252 from Kamloops to Calgary, with 75 guests on board, was safely diverted to Kelowna International Airport this evening due to a mechanical issue with the aircraft,” the statement said.
WestJet said the plane landed safely at 4:45 p.m. PT and it was working to re-accommodate everyone aboard the next available flight.
“We sincerely apologize to our guests for the inconvenience caused by the diversion and appreciate their patience and understanding as we worked to get them on their way as soon as possible,” the airline said.