Loss of cabin pressure forced the Air North flight to Whitehorse to land at Prince George
Passengers aboard an Air North flight to the Yukon witnessed a surprise landing in Prince George, BC on Wednesday.
The plane flew from Vancouver to Whitehorse on Wednesday afternoon.
Gary Lewis, who was on the flight, said the plane encountered turbulence and then the pilot asked her to buckle up.
“Oxygen masks all fell into our laps and the plane got pretty quiet,” Lewis said.
“Some people got a little nervous and scared. Everyone probably had some nervousness, a bit scared, but they quickly got there where the dressing room didn’t need to be pressurized and the risk and threat was over. But it was a heartbreaking moment for a few minutes.”
The pilot informed passengers that the flight was grounded due to a loss of pressure in the cabin, according to a recording on board the flight. CBC could not confirm the pilot’s name.
“At no time was there any danger, structural danger, nothing like that for the flight,” the pilot said as the plane was on the ground. “I’d like to say it’s not that big of a deal, but unfortunately for you guys, it seems a little worse than it is.”
Air North President and CEO Joe Sparling told CBC News Thursday afternoon his crew is investigating the cause of the problem.
“It wasn’t a complete depressurization in the cabin, but the cabin climbed onto it, so the crew followed all company procedures and chose to descend first and then divert to another airport.”
Some passengers told CBC there was a warning at the start of the flight that something was wrong with the door and that it could be an uncomfortable journey.
Sparling did not refute this claim.
“Apparently there was a whistle coming out of the main cabin door,” he said, “which may or may not be related to the pressure issue.”
Air North employees, he added, examined the plane, which had since returned to the Whitehorse hangar.
After the plane landed, the passengers were taken to the airport and provided with food and drinks.
In a Facebook post, Air North said both the passengers and the plane arrived safely at Prince George and it sent a replacement plane to pick up the passengers.
This flight arrived in Whitehorse just before 11pm on Wednesday.