'Strange odour' sparks Jetstar emergency

Last updated 09:38 26/10/2012
Jetstar passengers
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ

LONG QUEUE: Jetstar passengers try to get alternative flights to Wellington after their 7.30am flight had to turn back to Christchurch just before landing.

Jetstar passengers Ann and Tony Murphy
Keith Lynch
WAITING: Christchurch's Ann Murphy with her father Tony Murphy, 86.
Suzi Lazenby
Keith Lynch
JETSTAR DELAY: Suzi Lazenby awaits news on her flight to Wellington.
Jetstar in emergency landing
Keith Lynch
EMERGENCY: A Jetstar passenger takes a photo from his seat after his flight was forced to return to Christchurch airport after a "strange odour" was noticed on-board.
Jetstar passenger
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
MAKING NEW PLANS: Kris was on her way to Wellington for her husband's grandfather's funeral when her flight was turned back to Christchurch.

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Emergency services have rushed to Christchurch Airport after reports of a "strange odour" on a plane.

It is understood to be a Jetstar flight from Christchurch to Wellington which had to turn around because of what a passenger, Press reporter Keith Lynch, described as a "strange odour".

The flight had since been cancelled due to "engineering issues" and passengers were now scrambling to get afternoon flights, Lynch said.

The aircraft had left Christchurch at 7.30am when a flight attendant reported a "musky kind of smell" coming from the main compartment of the plane.

Lynch said the seatbelt sign had just come on for landing when the pilot came across the speaker saying they were going to abort the journey and return to Christchurch.

The incident was "a little bit unsettling" but all passengers had since disembarked safely and two members of the Fire Service had boarded the plane, he said.

Fran Gardner, who was on the way to Wellington for a conference said she smelled a "very faint" odour - "more like hot temperature on a fabric".

Fellow passenger, Kris, was on her way to Wellington for her husband's grandfather's funeral. He was 99.

"It's at 2pm. I don't think I'm gonna make it. He [my husband] is there. He'll be going to the funeral in his
undies 'cos I have his clothes."

Christchurch woman Ann Murphy was travelling with her father Tony Murphy, 86, to meet her 10-week-old granddaughter Isla. It was Tony's first time to see the baby.

"We are pretty disappointed. But you have to be safe," Ann said.

Tim Bloy, who was sitting near the engine, described the smell as "burning toast".

"It was quite mild. I definitely smelled something when we took off. It smelled like burning."

Bloy, who was travelling to Wellington for a meeting, said he was not overly concerned by the turn-around.

Fire communications shift manager Brent Dunn said earlier the local standby alert was received at 8am.

"There is a little bit of smoke in the cockpit of an A320 which is due to land in a few minutes," he said.

Two fire trucks and one command unit went to the scene and airport rescue was also on standby, he said.

Dunn said the local standby alert was the lowest grade of alert for an incoming aircraft.

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