Passengers on Air Canada Boeing 767 made an emergency landing safe in Madrid Monday night have described how they spent hours flying in circles to burn fuel in a tense calm.
AC837 Toronto-bound flight, carrying 128 passengers, departed from the Spanish capital in the afternoon but had to ask for the return of the emergency as soon as one of the two machines were broken and a tire during takeoff.
Brock Mierzejewski, of Vancouver, who was on the plane with his parents, told The Associated Press: “Obviously a lot of nervous tension while we were in the air, but the pilot did a great job of landing the plane.”
“We are still in a bit of shock but glad to be safe,” Mierzejewski said shortly after the plane landed at the international airport-Barajas Adolfo Suárez. It was quickly surrounded by emergency vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances.
There is no immediate information about what caused the damage.
“Arriving safely, everything was ok!” Said Guido Fioravantti, of New York, whose father was on the plane and had told him that the cabin remains “calm and collected” during the ordeal.
“Pilots train for this lot, so there is no reason to panic. It is also more common than many people would think, “said Fioravantti.
The aircraft spent nearly four hours flying in circles near Madrid, burn the fuel before it is light enough to land. Spanish Defense Ministry sent an F18 fighter jet to evaluate the damage done to the landing gear.
In a statement, the airline said the plane “engine trouble shortly after taking off” from the same airport, as well as a tire – one of 10 on a Boeing 767-300. He added that the plane was “designed to operate on one engine and our pilots are fully trained for this eventuality.”
“Nonetheless, the state of emergency is declared for priority landing,” said Air Canada.
A spokesman for the Spanish airport’s operator, AENA, told the AP that the airline has requested a slot for an emergency landing about 30 minutes after takeoff.
A spokesman Enaire, the Spanish air navigation authority, said the plane’s landing gear was not folded properly on takeoff and a piece of it may have damaged part of one of the machines.
The officials were not authorized to be named to media reports.
This is the second incident a day at Madrid’s international airport, the busiest in the country. Earlier on Monday, the airport was closed for more than an hour due to reported sightings of drones in the vicinity.
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