Air Rarotonga managing director Ewan Smith confirmed the incident, reported to CINews on Friday by a member of the public. Smith said the crew had followed standard procedures and had landed at Aitutaki Airport with one engine shut down.
He said the airline’s safety manager had subsequently been in contact with all passengers.
“Although being obviously anxious...they complimented the crew on their professional handling of the situation.
“The PT6 engine has an incredible record for reliability and an incident of this nature is very rare. It has been reported to the authorities and the failed engine is being shipped to Pratt and Whitney for investigation.”
Smith said there had been no panic among the passengers during the incident.
“Make no mistake...it was an extraordinary event. However, just to put it into perspective, we take-off around 5000 times per year without incident.”
Smith supplied CINews with a report containing remarks from passengers that had been recorded by the safety manager.
One passenger said she should be saying “thank you” to the crew. She said they had done a wonderful job and were very professional in their handling of the event.
“She confirmed the bang and whine noises and subsequent movement of the aircraft around to land again at the airport,” the report said.
“She pointed out how calm the crew were in their actions during the event and complimented them.”
Another passenger said he had observed that the two pilots were conversing between themselves and looked calm. He said he knew the pilots had the aircraft under control, and not long afterwards they had started turning the aircraft around for landing.
He said that during the incident, which was recorded on video, the pilots had been very calm.
A third passenger had confirmed there was no panic aboard the aircraft, the report said.
“During the event he noticed some passengers showing concern, so based on his experience, he calmed them and advised that the aircraft would operate safely (on a) single engine and not to be concerned.
“He thought there might be difficulty with the landing, but that the pilots handled the aircraft very well and were good.
“He was very proud of them.”