Terror for passengers as propellor falls from plane

Passengers on a Great Barrier Airlines flight watched in horror as a propeller came off in mid-air, smashing a window on their aircraft and ripping a door off.



"It was like an explosion going off inside the plane," one told the Herald yesterday.

"The propeller came off and hit the side of the plane ...

"Both propeller blades came off - the whole thing just destroyed itself. It just completely self-destructed.

"A door got ripped off and the side of the plane got smashed in - we all got covered in glass.

"There was a huge amount of debris that we were just covered in. There were chunks the size of golfballs that came back and hit you."

The passenger said the 11.30am Sunday flight to Auckland from Claris Airfield was a six-minute nightmare.

The plane made an emergency landing at Claris

The man, who did not want to be named, was one of 11, including the pilot, on board the three-engine plane.

He said the impact of the propeller, which came from the engine on the right wing, was terrifying.

Passengers noticed the Trislander engine wobbling during takeoff.

"It was just lucky there was one seat spare - that was where it hit and pushed the side of the aircraft in.

"If someone had been sitting there they would have been injured quite severely.

"Everyone remained fairly calm on the aircraft but everyone was fairly nervous of what had happened - thinking 'are we going to survive this? Is the aircraft going to break up?"'



One passenger pulled his camera out while the plane was still in the air.

"The guy I was sitting beside, he had the initiative to grab his camera out, but he was shaking so much he had some trouble taking pictures so I did it."

Two passengers needed medical treatment to remove debris from their eyes, and the man decided to catch a ferry back to Auckland rather than fly.

He was angry that the airline had appeared to downplay the situation yesterday, and also raised concerns about work he had seen engineers doing on the plane on Friday.

"We were taken out and put on another plane. As we were boarding the other plane, there were engineers working on that engine. They had the covers off ... and were doing all sorts of tests with it.

"It appears to me there was a problem there with it or whether the problem had been created by the work carried out on who knows, but it just seems a coincidence that an engine they were working on explodes two days later."

Another passenger told the Herald the incident happened quickly.

"I was really trying to assess the situation and hoping the plane would stay in the air and then we'd get back down safely."

The chief executive of Great Barrier Airlines, Gerard Rea, said the experience would have been a frightening one for those on board and he hadn't intended to downplay it. The airline would make available the results of an internal investigation.

Friday's maintenance on the plane was nothing to do with the propeller, he said.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission is investigating.

* This article is from The New Zealand Herald.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'