A WestJet plane made a successful emergency landing late this morning at the Prince George Airport. The plane was on a flight from Vancouver to Terrace. It was reported to be in distress around 10:30.
Prince George Airport officials were alerted to the situation at 10:31 and activated it’s Emergency Operations Centre. The University Hospital of Northern BC was put on alert to be prepared to deal with multiple injuries.”Right away we have got all the contacts of all the Emergency Responders,” says CEO and President of the Prince George Airport Authority, John Gibson. “We expect that we are going to have to deal with an issue that might be more critical than what actually happened.”
WestJet officials say flight 3105 was diverted to Prince George out of “abundance of caution” after the flight crew received an indication of a potential issue the nose landing gear.
Airport emergency personnel were assisted by personnel from the Prince George Fire Rescue Department, the Pineview Volunteer Fire Department and BC Ambulance.
Passenger, Shane Calkins, recounts the incident. “We were going into Terrace, all of the sudden we were going to land. Then on an abrupt ‘bang’ we went right back into the air. Then they started circling. The captain came on and said they were having problems with the landing gear. That set off an alarm right away, because if we don’t have wheels we are not landing.”
After being diverted to Prince George, Calkins was shaken. “We go through here and we do one flyby, and they are checking the landing gear now. We are getting worried now, my wife and me are sitting together. We have 4 kids at home. It’s tough.”
With emergency crews standing by the airport’s main runway, the plane made a successful landing. Airport firetrucks raced towards the plane once it touched down to provide assistance, however the plane was able to taxi to the terminal on it’s own.
WestJet delayed a scheduled Vancouver-bound flight to accommodate guests back to Vancouver. There, they had the choice to stay or be re-accommodated on the next available Terrace flight.
Calkins and his wife decided to rent a vehicle and drive back to Terrace. He says he won’t be flying again anytime soon.