2 Sep 2009

Plane forced to make emergency landing in capital

7:10 pm on 2 September 2009

A passenger jet has been forced to make an emergency landing at Wellington Airport, following reports of smoke in the cabin.

Engineers are inspecting the Air New Zealand Boeing 737 after the decision was made to land in Wellington on Wednesday afternoon.

The airline says Flight NZ 535 took off from Auckland bound for Christchurch with 95 passengers and five crew on board.

The Fire Service says fire fighters were put on stand-by at 3.25pm and the plane landed 10 minutes later at Wellington Airport without incident.

Air New Zealand says smoke was smelt in the cabin, so the decision was made to land the plane in the capital.

Passenger Andrew Patuwai told Checkpoint there was definitely a smell of something burning and he noticed the jet stream from the engine beside his window turning from grey to black.

Mr Patuwai says the crew remained calm while the pilot explained that they did not know where the smoke was coming from before he safely landed the plane.

Wellington Airport says the pilot stood the emergency down after landing safely.

Arrangements are being made to get the passengers on an alternative plane to Christchurch.