PASSENGERS aboard an Air New Zealand plane forced to turn back to Melbourne have described a rocky flight and said they knew something was wrong when emergency exits were cleared.
An engine problem caused the Auckland-bound Airbus A320 with 145 passengers and six crew on board to make an emergency landing at Melbourne Airport on Thursday evening.
With airport emergency services on stand-by, the twin-engined aircraft landed safely on one engine shortly before 8pm (AEDT) and passengers have been booked on alternative flights on Friday.
Passengers have described feeling unsafe and being unsure about what was happening.
“A very rocky flight, it felt like a wing was going to fall off,” one passenger told the ABC at Melbourne Airport.
“It didn’t feel safe at all.”
Passenger Tobias Haque said crew started clearing the emergency rows.
“You think something’s not right here, they are preparing for the worst,” he told the ABC.
Mr Haque said passengers were waiting for an announcement from the crew, but there wasn’t one.
But another passenger praised staff, saying they were exceptional.
“They handled the situation really well.”
New Zealand comedian Michele A’Court tweeted: “Took off. Engine stopped working. Turned around and landed back in Melbourne. Quite full on.”
Another comedian, Jeremy Elwood, told Fairfax Media he knew something was wrong when the plane began to circle after take-off.
He said the atmosphere on the plane was calm.
“I was sitting on the left hand side of the plane and apparently the problem was with an engine on the right,” he said.
“You could tell something was wrong, but there was no panic. It was a pretty standard landing.”
Mr Elwood said crew came on the PA after the landing and said there had been a problem with the engine.
They apologised for not explaining the situation sooner, but said they were too busy, he said.
An Air NZ spokesman said in a statement engineers are still investigating the nature of the fault, however, reports the incident was caused by a fuel leak are incorrect.