PASSENGERS have praised the pilots and cabin crew of a Qantaslink plane after it was forced to make an emergency landing in Tamworth on Tuesday night.
Passengers aboard QF2034 recalled hearing an odd sound just before take off from Sydney en route to Armidale before the blown tyre was discovered.
“I did hear a sound as we took off and a few passengers looked at each other,” Armidale resident Liz Ferris said.
The plane, with 44 passengers aboard and four crew, flew to Armidale before turning around to Tamworth and circling a number of times to burn fuel while emergency services assembled on the ground.
“Not until we were actually about to land and the flight attendants were yelling brace, brace, brace, that you think oh god this is really happening,” Glen Innes’ Jane Kreis said.
“But it was such a beautiful smooth landing.
“Some people joked through it, and some people looked visibly shaken, I just went back to my book and tried to blank it out.”
Tamworth Regional Airport Manager Julie Stewart said the aircraft made a textbook emergency landing just after 9pm.
“There was a full emergency response with six NSW Fire Brigade units, four Rural Fire Service tankers, a Hazmat unit, four police vehicles and about five ambulances along with airport-based staff on standby,” she said.
“The Dash 8-300 circled the airport for close to an hour to use up fuel, which is standard practice in an emergency situation, and then landed safely on the remaining tyres.”
The plane was given the once over by emergency services before passengers were allowed off the plane.
“They [the staff] did always say even though we are going through an emergency landing it was just precautionary, but you can’t help but feel nervous anyway,” Mrs Kreis said.
“When they say brace, it really does scare you but you couldn’t fault the service and the support.”
Qantas confirmed the passengers were bussed to Armidale while the plane was taxied into the hangar for emergency repairs before it flew out of Tamworth yesterday morning.
“They made sure we were aware of the emergency procedures,” Ms Ferris said.
“They prepared well, should the worst happen, but the pilots and the stewards did a wonderful job.”