Passengers Praise Pilot For Fire-Free Landing
An Eagle Air Beechcraft 1900 turboprop enroute from Timaru to
Wellington, carrying 15 passengers and two crew members, was forced
into a gear-up landing Monday morning at Blenheim's Woodbourne
Airport in New Zealand.
The flight originally tried to land at Wellington International
Airport after discovering a problem with the landing gear, then
diverted to Woodbourne. The aircraft landed safely with no injuries
reported, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
A passenger, Natasha Frisby, told the New Zealand Herald there
was "a loud bang" when the aircraft impacted the runway and then it
quickly came to a stop.
"It was a bit frightening," she added.
Passenger Marty Solomon, on board with his partner and son,
praised the pilot for the successful landing and for keeping them
informed as to what was going on.
"I was a bit freaked out, but as soon as we came to a halt I was
alright. The pilot did a damned good job at landing the plane," he
"I jumped out through the window, the hole wanted to be a bit
He said the crew kept passengers informed and helped them
prepare for a crash landing.
While there were no reported injuries, one passenger, believed
to be pregnant, was transported to the hospital as a
A witness at the airport said the aircraft set down "smoothly,"
came to a stop about halfway down the runway and managed to stay
Woodbourne airport warrant officer Ross Connochie said there
were no sparks and no fire. Fire apparatus met the aircraft with an
immediate foam application.
"It was a very clean landing, it came in very slow and smooth,"
Connochie said some of the passengers told him the waiting
period while the plane circled the airport was worse than the
"They said they all talked to each other, swapped a few seats
around, and the pilot came and had a chat to them and made sure
everyone was comfortable.
"All the hand baggage was put in the front of the plane and
everyone knew what they were going to do."
BHE was expected to be closed for no more than two hours for
wreckage removal, according to airport authorities.
Eagle Air is a subsidiary of Air New Zealand.