© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
The Air Canada jet that made an emergency landing in Charlottetown sits on the tarmac at right. The replacement plane, left, left Charlottetown with the passengers.
An Air Canada jet made an emergency landing at the Charlottetown Airport Wednesday afternoon after one of its engines failed in the air.
The jet landed safely around noon and no one was hurt.
Flight AC672, a Brazilian Embraer aircraft, was carrying 93 passengers and five crew members - two pilots and three flight officers.
"As the aircraft ascended to 13,000 feet the engine started to vibrate and at that time the pilot elected to shut it down,'' said Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesman with Air Canada.
The flight left Halifax at 11 a.m., destined for St. John's, N.L., when the engine trouble occurred.
Fitzpatrick said the pilot and air traffic control tower agreed that the plane should be immediately diverted to the closest airport, which was Charlottetown.
Doug Newson, CEO of the Charlottetown Airport Authority, said the weather made turning back to the Stanfield International Airport in Halifax an unrealistic option.
Fitzpatrick said Charlottetown had the "barest and driest'' runway in the Atlantic region at the time.
The Maritime provinces were hit with the season's first snowstorm on Wednesday.
"We got a call from the tower saying that they would be diverting the plane to Charlottetown since we were the closest location and weather, I think, in Halifax was getting worse by the minute,'' Newson said.
The Air Canada jet was 12 minutes from Charlottetown when the incident occurred.
"The pilot was not declaring an emergency but he was certainly notifying us that they were coming in,'' Newson said. "We had our emergency response in place should an emergency been declared. Fortunately, that was not the case.''
The Charlottetown Airport deployed its fire brigade and waited for the jet to land. Once the aircraft came to a stop on the runway, the trucks proceeded out to the jet.
"There was no incident and the plane has since taxied back to our apron.''
Newson said the passengers were aware of what was happening. One report indicated some passengers could smell smoke.
"I can tell you there were some customers that were a little shaken up. It didn't sound like a great experience but, thankfully, they did land without incident.''
Passengers interviewed at the airport by CBC indicated the incident was a scary one for those onboard. One woman, saying she feared for her life, said she sent off "I love you" messages to family members.
Fitzpatrick said their jets are designed to be able to fly on only one working engine and that the pilots are well trained to deal with such cases.
Air Canada sent an alternate jet to Charlottetown which transported the passengers to St. John's, N.L.