Emergency landing shuts King Shaka for three hours

2012-08-06 00:00

THERE was drama at King Shaka International Airport last night when a 1time plane heading to Cape Town experienced engine problems and had to perform an emergency landing.

This led to the runway being closed for three hours, with no plane landing or taking off, and passengers left stranded.

Iain Pike, a passenger, said they were just taking off when they heard a loud bang from the plane.

“We were taking off in the northerly direction and we heard a loud bang. We flew more northerly than we normally do and then the pilot finally came on and told us that one of the engines of the plane had failed and we were coming back to land.

“They gave us the emergency landing speech, but we landed just fine. As we landed the emergency services were there and we used to whole runway to land.”

Pike said that after the passengers disembarked and went back to the terminal to wait for another plane, a Kulula aircraft was stuck on the runway after it also apparently experienced engine problems.

This, he said, prevented other flights from taking off or landing. By 8.30 pm, Pike, who was supposed to have left at 5 pm was still at the airport.

“What is more frustrating is the lack of information; another plane coming from Johannesburg was supposed to be here, but nothing is happening.

“No planes are taking off or landing. All the people in this waiting room have not moved.”

Pike was not the only frustrated air traveller. Singer Lloyd Cele tweeted, “Flight delayed for over 2hrs now! Apparently a 1Time flight engine blew up! They a[r]e cleaning the runway here in Durban.”

On its website, 1time, established in 2004, states it operates eight DC9/MD80 aircraft, “one of the safest and most reliable family of commercial jet airliners ever built”.

Airport communications manager Colin Naidoo said King Shaka was experiencing delays of up to three hours due to the emergency landing and they were being dealt with. “If a plane does an emergency landing we have to close the runway and do [a] runways sweep to remove any foreign objects.”

He denied the Kulula plane had been stuck on the runway due to engine problems. “The runway was closed so the airline could not land and was diverted to the nearest airport, which is Johannesburg, and it is now coming back.”

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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