20 Aug 2016

Samoa-bound plane turns back to Auckland

12:11 pm on 20 August 2016

A state of emergency was declared at Auckland airport this morning after a Samoa-bound plane had to turn back due to an engineering issue.

Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport Photo: 123RF

Air New Zealand said a Boeing 777 was on its way to Samoa when it had to turn back just before 10am.

The airport announced a state of emergency and the Fire Service was called out.

Air New Zealand said the pilots detected something was wrong shortly after take-off. They then turned around and landed safely.

Passenger Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, a lawyer and former rugby test player, tweeted that they were an hour into a flight to Samoa when the plane turned back.

He said he was thankful a conservative approach was taken and everyone was safe.

Earlier reports said there was a brake fire, but Air New Zealand said it believed a small amount of hydraulic fluid had dripped onto the hot brakes, causing smoke.

It said some people on the ground wrongly interpreted it to be a fire.