Published on : Saturday, February 4, 2017
In a weird twist in their journey, passengers bound for sunny Southern California made an unexpected visit to Canada’s Arctic region Wednesday when their Swiss International Airlines Boeing 777 made an emergency landing in tiny Iqaluit.
Swiss Flight 40 suffered an engine problem when it was headed from Zurich to Los Angeles. The problem cropped up while it was flying near Canada’s far north when it and was diverted to Iqaluit.
“The real issue was they only had one engine, but despite that it was a smooth landing,” Iqaluit airport director John Hawkins said.
The temperature upon landing around 3 p.m. local time was -6F (-21C) before dropping into the -20s (-30C) during the overnight hours.
Meanwhile, passengers with expectations of landing in Los Angeles suddenly found themselves in one of North America’s coldest locales.
“Would you believe me if I told you the plane I was in lost an engine and now I’m stuck in the middle of the North Pole?,” one passenger, Los Angeles-based entertainer Leroy Sanchez, said via Twitter.
Initially, it appeared as though the Swiss airline passengers might even get a tour of Iqaluit, the capital of Canada’s sprawling Nunavut territory.
“They will be given a tour of the community, fed, and a replacement airplane is being sent to pick them up so they will not be staying overnight,” Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern initially said on Wednesday shortly after the flight had landed.
“Iqaluit is a spectacular place, they only have a few hours so there’s no way they’ll see it all,” added airport director Hawkins.
Alas, a surprise sightseeing trip in Arctic Canada was not meant to be.
“It’s really too bad there was a change of plan, it would have been nice for passengers to experience Iqaluit – outside the plane,” Mayor Redfern said late Wednesday once it became clear that passengers would not leave the aircraft.