A passenger onboard a Qantas plane diverted to Ohakea Air Force Base because of mechanical issues says people were visibly distressed.
A mechanical issue forced Flight QF171 from Melbourne to Wellington to be diverted this afternoon. The aircraft circled the airport for about half before diverting to Ohakea Air Force Base.
Ryan Newington told RNZ the plane heated up while passengers remained stuck onboard on the tarmac.
"It's bloody hot, some people are visibly distressed. Some people are understandably frustrated," he had earlier told RNZ.
They waited for customs staff to travel from Wellington to the airbase, about 140km drive away, to conduct checks.
Ryan Newington said passengers, including infants, sat in the cabin for about four hours as temperatures climbed.
The buses to take passengers the 140 kilometre drive to Wellington arrived late this afternoon.
Mr Ryan had told RNZ staff had kept up spirits and doing really well given the circumstances.
But he said, although buses had arrived to take them to the capital, no food has been offered since breakfast this morning.
A Qantas spokesperson said passengers would finish their trip to Wellington by bus.
"The aircraft diverted to Ohakea due to a mechanical issue where it landed safely," the spokesperson said.
"We apologise to our customers for the disruption but safety will always be our first priority."
The aircraft would usually divert to Palmerston but this was not possible due to the weather conditions, Qantas said.