Engine trouble and a blown tire forced an Air Canada Boeing 767 bound for Toronto to make an emergency landing in Madrid, Spain, on Monday.
The passenger jet carrying 128 passengers and crew members experienced a ruptured tire on takeoff and “an engine issue” shortly after departing Adolfo Suarez-Barajas international airport, Air Canada said in an e-mail.
Flight AC837 circled the region southeast of the airport for four hours to burn fuel and lighten the aircraft, then made a safe landing on Monday evening, local time. No injuries were reported, and the plane taxied to the gate under its own power, Air Canada said.
“The aircraft, a Boeing 767-300, is designed to operate on one engine and our pilots are fully trained for this eventuality," Air Canada said. "Nonetheless, an emergency was declared in order to obtain landing priority.” The cause of the problems is not yet known, the airline said.
Video of the landing shows emergency vehicles converging on the runway. Passengers on board the flight broke into applause when it touched down safely, according to a video apparently shot by a passenger.
“Air Canada Pilots Association members are highly-skilled pilots who are trained and equipped to deal with issues that may arise during the course of operations,” said Michael McKay, chairman of the pilots’ union. “We have actively monitored this situation – including the safe return of passengers, crew and aircraft in Madrid – and we will support our members through the anticipated civil aviation investigation of this incident.”
The Spanish military sent an F18 fighter jet to shadow the plane and evaluate the damage to the landing gear while it was still in the air.
Air Canada and a spokesman for Canada’s aviation accident investigator, the Transportation Safety Board, said the cause has not been determined. A spokesman for the TSB said the incident falls under the jurisdiction of Spanish authorities.
People on the ground and aboard the plane tweeted video and flight path updates of the aircraft as it prepared for its final approach.
Air Canada flies five of the wide-body Boeing 767s, which have two engines and 10 wheels. The passengers will be given overnight hotel rooms and rebooked on another flight, Air Canada said.
Flightradar 24, an online plane-tracker, said an “extreme spike” in the number of users following the flight caused the website to crash.
With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters
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