A plane landed safely Tuesday morning after a potential problem with the landing gear on an inbound flight put the plane, airport and local hospital under an emergency alert.
A WestJet Encore flight headed from Vancouver to Terrace was diverted to Prince George "out of an abundance of caution after the flight crew received an indication of a potential issue with the nose landing gear," WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart confirmed after the plane landed.
BC Emergency Health Services said paramedics assessed about 40 patients, but that no major injuries had been reported.
The flight landed at around 11:45 a.m. after crew, which declared an emergency around 10:30 a.m., completed its check list "to resolve the issue and the flight landed normally" in Prince George, Stewart said.
Before that happened, the Prince George Airport Authority activated the Emergency Operations Centre Agency.
Northern Health said for a brief time the hospital was under code orange alert, but it had been called off after reports the plane landed safely.
The airport said it learned of the incident involving WestJet flight 3105 occurred at around 10:31 a.m.
The flight left Vancouver Tuesday morning for Terrace, but touched down instead about 550 kilometres east. The decision was made to divert because of better weather in Prince George, which would allow the airport's control tower to visually check to make sure that the landing gear was down, Stewart said.
"This is a common practice, where the aircraft would do a fly-by and receive confirmation from the air traffic controller that the gear was in place for landing."
Emergency crews were on site, including the city’s fire department, B.C. ambulance and the Pineview volunteer fire department. Emergency crews blocked the highway headed to the airport as the plane was circling in the air, but police opened the road when the flight landed.
Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins said a code orange alert at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. "puts everything on hold in terms of whether or not there would be mass casualties" and that the alert was lifted when the hospital was contacted that the flight had landed safely.
WestJet will return passengers to Vancouver, where they will be able to stay or continue on to Terrace. There were 40 people and four crew on board the twin-turboprop Bombardier Q400, part of WestJet's Encore fleet, which services smaller communities.
- with files from Canadian Press
Correction: An earlier version of this web story wasn't clear on the direction of the flight. It was headed from Vancouver to Terrace, but diverted to Prince George.