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WestJet flight makes emergency landing at Kelowna, B.C., airport

A Westjet plane flying from Kamloops, B.C., to Calgary, Alta., Thursday afternoon was diverted to Kelowna International Airport due to engine issues.

Kelowna RCMP Const. Michael Della-Paolera said the local RCMP and fire departments both responded to support airport emergency crews.

He said thanks to a quick response, the plane landed safely, and the airport resumed normal operations.

“It was a little scary for us, but it sounds like it was pretty routine for them,” he said.

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‘In God’s hands’

Megan Norton was one of the plane’s passengers.

“I was sitting on a window side. Actually, right beside the engine that failed,” she said. “There was quite a loud bang and kind of a clunk. I thought, holy sh-t, it sounds like the motor’s coming out.”

Norton says she texted her mom and shot a video as she heard the plane engine stop and looked out the window to see smoke coming out of it.

WATCH | Passenger’s video captures the moment after the engine stopped: 

westjet flight makes emergency landing at kelowna b c airport

WestJet engine stops working, prompting emergency landing

3 hours ago

Duration 0:06

A WestJet plane had to make an emergency landing in Kelowna, B.C., Thursday. Passengers shared video of the mechanical issues.

“There was a couple women behind me that were crying and kind of struggling with their anxiety,” she said. “But it is what it is — you’re in God’s hands.”

Norton says flight attendants asked everyone to buckle up, saying there was a minor complication with the right engine and reassuring passengers that things were under control.

Afterwards, she said the pilot told everyone on board that an engine had failed, but he would be able to safely return them to Kelowna.

‘Engine out’ 

Phillip Elchitz, senior manager of airport operations at Kelowna International Airport, told CBC News in an interview that the mechanical issue took place shortly after takeoff, in what’s known as an “engine out” — when an aircraft loses power in one of its engines but can fly using the engine that’s still working.

“At approximately 3:40 this afternoon we were notified of a mechanical issue on a commercial flight,” Elchitz said.

“YLW activated our emergency response procedures and I’m happy to say that the flight has arrived safely … and all of the passengers have been safely offloaded.”

There had been reports that the plane’s engine was on fire mid-air, but Elchitz said the plane was not on fire when it landed.

“The aircraft mechanics will have to assess the aircraft,” he said. “We’re not sure what the level of damage is.”

In a statement to CBC, a spokesperson for WestJet confirmed one of its planes had to make an emergency landing.

“WestJet Encore flight 3252 travelling from Kamloops to Calgary with 75 guests on board, safely diverted to Kelowna International Airport this evening due to a mechanical issue with the aircraft,” reads the statement.

WestJet said the plane landed safely at 4:45 p.m. PT and it was working to re-accommodate everyone who was on board on the next available flight.

“We sincerely apologize to our guests for this inconvenience the diversion has caused and appreciate their patience and understanding as we worked to get them on their way as soon as possible,” said the airline.

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