It was a close call for the passengers and crew of Qantas flight QF144 from Auckland New Zealand to Sydney Australia after the pilot had to make an emergency landing due to engine failure.
According to Australian media outlets, the Sydney-bound flight experienced flight issues mid-air, prompting the pilot to make a mayday call.
Airservices Australia said a “mayday” call is issued when a flight is in grave and imminent danger and needs immediate assistance.
Once the call is issued controllers alert aviation rescue, firefighting and emergency services with details on how to respond. They also provide assistance to pilots.
In this case, emergency response were also deployed to Sydney Airport, including fire, federal police and ambulance crews as a “precaution”, for the 145 passengers on board.
It’s reported that after 2pm on Wednesday, about an hour outside of Sydney, the pilot for flight QF144 from Auckland reported one of the twin engines had malfunctioned and was losing power.
According to a statement by Qantas, the aircraft landed safely around 3.30pm, was inspected by its engineers and the passengers on-board disembarked normally.
“While inflight engine shutdowns are rare, and would naturally be concerning for passengers, our pilots are trained to manage them safely and aircraft are designed to fly for an extended period on one engine,” said the airline.
The mayday alert was also downgraded to PAN (possible assistance needed) while the plane was still in the air.
The Australian and International Pilots Association said that type of incident was “extremely rare” and that it was too early to speculate on the cause of the engine failure.