Passenger describes tense moments on WestJet flight after engine failure


When Javaune Wallen boarded his Calgary-bound flight in Kamloops on Thursday afternoon, he never thought he’d be in for a tense flight. The flight, WestJet Encore 3252, was forced to divert and make an emergency landing at Kelowna International Airport after one of its two engines failed.The plane, with its 75 passengers onboard, landed safely.“I was really scared,” Wallen told Global News on Friday. “We heard a couple of big bangs.“I looked at the engine because the sound was coming from the right side, and then you could see the propeller slowly slow down, and then everything just went quiet.” Story continues below advertisement Javaune Wallen on WestJet Encore Flight 3252, which was forced to make an emergency landing in Kelowna Thursday after engine failure. Contributed Wallen said the engine failed about 10 minutes after takeoff.“The pilot came on and he said ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pretty sure you guys are aware, we have an out engine. We are trained for this. We’re in good hands and they’re going to try and get us to Kelowna for an emergency landing.’”Wallen said while there was no loud panic onboard, he said many passengers had a terrified look, including one passenger sitting next to him. 2:40 Passenger with no flying experience lands small plane after pilot became incapacitated “There was a lady that was sitting beside me. She started panicking really bad, really shaking, ” Wallen said. Trending Now Story continues below advertisement “So I tried my best to maintain my composure, try to hold what I’m feeling in and be strong for that lady.”Passengers indicated seeing flames inside the engine, but airport officials say by the time the plane landed, at 4:45 p.m., the fire was out.“By the time the aircraft landed, there was no fire at all,” said Phillip Elchitz, senior manager of airport operations.“Our crews did ensure that the aircraft, that engine, was safe. They got out of the fire trucks, they used heat guns to make sure that there wasn’t any heat before that aircraft actually taxied into the terminal building.” 1:49 Alaska Airlines halts summer service at Kelowna International Airport While Elchitz said emergency landings are not all that uncommon, ones involving commercial planes landing with only one engine are, Story continues below advertisement “It’s rare to have an aircraft land with one engine,” Elchitz said.“There’s all kinds of protocols that the pilots deal with when they’re in the air. And those two-engine aircraft are designed to actually be able to operate with one engine. It’s rare for us to see, but we were ready.”Global News reached out to WestJet for comment and received a brief email.“The crew followed standard safety procedures and the aircraft landed safely at 4:45 p.m. local time,” said Denise Kenny, WestJet’s manager of public relations.“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.”The plane remained at the Kelowna airport Friday awaiting mechanical inspection.Many of the passengers were rebooked on other flights that same evening. Some, however, chose to overnight in Kelowna, not quite ready to board another plane.“There were some passengers that were certainly shaken up,” Elchitz said. “It’s not something that anybody wants to experience. Story continues below advertisement “But my understanding from what I’ve heard from some of the passengers on board was that it was quickly stabilized.”Wallen expressed gratitude to WestJet staff for getting everyone on the ground safely.“The pilots were amazing, the flight crew were amazing,” he said. “I can’t stress that enough.” 2:07 Ohio train derailment: 5 employees of firm involved in cleanup die in plane crash &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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