Passengers on a WestJet Encore flight that left Prince George Airport Saturday morning received a scare when the pilots decided to turn back and make an emergency landing.
The Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft, which left the airport at 10:53 a.m., landed safely 19 minutes later.
Emergency crews from the airport and first responders from Prince George Fire Rescue, RCMP and the B.C. Ambulance Service were dispatched to the scene.
“The pilots made the decision to return to Prince George due to a flap issue,” said WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell. “The flight landed safely and the plane taxied to the gate where all guests were offloaded. The aircraft has subsequently been removed from service for further inspection from our maintenance team.”
Flaps are mounted on the trailing edge of fixed-wing aircraft and give the plane additional lift during takeoffs and are retracted once the plane is flying to lessen the drag.
All 63 passengers on board got off safely and were subsequently re-booked on a later flight to Vancouver.
“We’re just happy it was a good conclusion and a safe landing,” said Susan Clarke, the airport’s manager of marketing, communications and customer service.
“We’re always ready to respond in the event of an incident. We have to be able to respond within a few minutes with at least two (fire) trucks. We always maintain it and we have to have airport rescue and firefighter staff on in the fire hall at all times.”