An Air Canada Boeing jet has made a successful emergency landing in Madrid, Spain, after experiencing mechanical problems shortly after take-off.
The 30-year-old Boeing 767-300ER – registered C-GHOZ – departed Madrid at 12:55 pm local time, bound for Toronto. It experienced a suspected ruptured tyre on take-off; followed by an engine issue that led pilots to declare an emergency and abort the flight.
Flight tracker data shows the airliner circling for several hours southeast of Madrid, to burn excess fuel, and thus reduce the aircraft’s weight; enabling the Boeing jet to make a safe landing.
Flight #AC837 has been holding for more than 3 hours in order to reduce landing weight.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) February 3, 2020
“The aircraft, a Boeing 767-300, is designed to operate safely on one engine and our pilots are professionally and fully trained for such an event. Nonetheless, an emergency was declared in order to obtain landing priority,” Air Canada said in a statement, adding: “The aircraft experienced an engine issue shortly after take-off. A tire also reportedly ruptured on take-off, one of 10 on this model of aircraft.”
Air Canada says that there were 128 passengers and 8 crew-members onboard. The airline is providing hotels and rebooked flights for those affected. “There are no reported injuries. We have no further details on the cause at present,” the airline said.
During the incident, passengers on board the Boeing airliner noticed a Spanish F18 fighter jet flying close by, which was despatched to identify any damage done to the 767’s landing gear.
Update FIGHTER JET has joined up with #AC837 to Toronto that’s returning to Madrid. Reported engine issue & possible blown tire on departure. Passenger’s son tells me his dad says the fighter jet will inspect landing gear for damage. Boeing 767-300 burning fuel, no dump ability. pic.twitter.com/4Jmoh8DfRP
— Tom Podolec Aviation (@TomPodolec) February 3, 2020
Others travellers took to social media, sharing imagery and video of a visible flame coming from the port (left) engine as well as scenes of a seemingly calm and orderly atmosphere on board.
The pilots of the aircraft have been widely commended by the aviation community, with Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield taking to Twitter to congratulate the crew on a successful landing, saying: “Tire blew, pieces got in the engine, the pilots did everything right and safely landed back in Madrid. Good work!”
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) February 3, 2020
The emergency landing was the second incident at Madrid Airport on Monday 3 February, with the airport having been closed for over an hour due to earlier reports of drone sightings.