'Smoke' seen in cockpit of Palmerston North flight

Last updated 16:22 30/11/2013

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A flight bound for Palmerston North had to land shortly after take off this morning as smoke came from the cockpit.

Firefighters met the plane at Auckland Airport after the unscheduled landing.

Passengers on the Mt Cook Airlines flight were evacuated on the taxiway at about 8.30am, according to a Fire communication spokeswoman.

Engineers were called in but were unable to find any signs of fire.The spokeswoman said they had concluded what they thought was smoke was most likely steam from an air-conditioning unit.

Air New Zealand owns Mt Cook Airlines, and said the flight, bound for Palmerston North, had just taken off before grounding again when the smoke was detected.

There were 52 passengers on board at the time.

An Auckland Airport spokesman said police and ambulances had also been on hand as part of their emergency protocol. There were some delays to other flights but he said they were minor.

Meanwhile weather conditions in Wellington meant a flight from Wellington to Palmerston North this morning was one of several to or from the capital to be cancelled.

"The bottom line is that we're having a bouncy start to spring," Metservice forecaster Ian Gall said. "There's a tendency, especially in Wellington, for spring to be a turbulent time. We are still getting cool sea temperatures, we are getting warmer air temperatures, and the weather is driven by changes in temperature more than anything else.:

There was rain this afternoon in Palmerston North, though it was not heavy, tomorrow was predicted to be mainly fine.

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- Manawatu Standard

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