A plane from Swiss International Air Lines flying from Zurich to Los Angeles has made an emergency landing at Iqaluit in northern Canada. The landing went smoothly and all passengers and crew are safe.
A technical problem caused the left engine of the Boeing 777-300ER to stop, forcing the landing on a snow-covered runway on Wednesday, Swiss explained.
Temperatures at Iqaluit, the capital of the territory of Nunavut with around 7,000 inhabitants, were around -23 degrees Celsius. There were reportedly 295 passengers on board.
A Swiss plane was sent from New York to pick up the passengers, who were then to be taken to New York where they could change for Los Angeles.
A spokeswoman for Swiss said the passengers and crew had to stay in the plane for more than 11 hours. Swiss had looked into accommodation options in Iqaluit. However, there weren't enough available. Also because of the very low temperatures it was decided not to put people up in the airport terminal.
Video shows plumes of snow fill the air as the commercial jet makes the emergency decent onto the runway. It usually accommodates much smaller aircraft.
The town mayor rushed to offer stranded passengers a tour of the city, where temperatures hovered around minus six degrees Fahrenheit. But they chose to remain on the plane until a replacement arrived from New York – 14 hours later.
Aviation photographer Brian Tattuinee captured the footage of the landing. In that footage the plane looks disproportionately large as it descends onto the tarmac.Swiss International Air Lines
Hawkins told the National Post: “The real issue was they only had one engine, but despite that it was a smooth landing.”
Bewildered passengers on the flight took to social media to talk about the landing.
Singer songwriter Leroy Sanchez was aboard the flight and updated followers about the landing, tweeting: “I’m stuck in the middle of the North Pole”.
“Rescue plane just arrived. Crew getting ready to disembark everyone from the aircraft,” he added in a separate tweet.
The passengers took off for New York at around 5 a.m. the next morning, before they headed to their final destination.