THE Hong Kong touch football team made an unexpected visit to Tamworth yesterday when their flight was forced to make an emergency landing at the airport.
The QantasLink Dash 8, carrying 78 people, was en route from Coffs Harbour to Sydney when it had to make the unplanned stop because of an indicated hydraulic pump
failure. It is understood it was diverted to Tamworth because the city has a heavy maintenance base.
Police, fire and ambulance officers attended, scrambling to the scene about 6pm, but the plane landed without incident about 6.30pm.
Passengers did not appear to be too concerned by the chain of events, beyond the inconvenience it had caused.
They disembarked from the plane and had to wait in the terminal for another flight to come in and collect them.
The Hong Kong team remained unsure whether they would make it to Sydney in time to catch their flight back to Hong Kong which was due to leave at 10pm yesterday.
“I think we’ll be lucky to make it,” coach Ben Worthington said.
He said for the youngest team member, this could be a blessing in disguise – he was likely to miss school because of it.
Mr Worthington said it was a “very new, different experience” for his team.
They were in Coffs Harbour to compete in the National Touch League Cup. Another group of mates were also faced with missing a connecting flight, this time to Melbourne.
They were returning from a golf trip in Bonville and were hoping they would make it to Sydney in time to catch the last flight home.