Air Canada flight diverted to Montreal during storm

Amidst all the events during last night's storm, an Air Canada flight out of Halifax experienced engine trouble and was unable to land, forcing it to fly to Montreal with only one engine functioning. A look at the plane's flight path here shows it turning back, flying around PEI to its final destination.

Haligonia reader Dave Hung emailed us early this morning with details:

20 minutes into the flight, what appeared to be a sonic boom erupted from the left side of the plane. The cabin director was in mid sentence over the intercom and was obviously panicked. We had no idea what happened for about another 20 minutes, in which time flight attendants were literally running up and down the plane. After another trembling and uninformative voice came over the intercom I developed a fear of flying. Looking out the window was a remarkable sight of the thunderstorm. It was abso-*****-lutely insane (sorry). Shortly after the captain explained that we were only running on one engine, but were safe. We obviously had to turn around be we didn't know where we could land. The weather system was making its way to N.B., so Fredericton was ruled out. We made it to Montreal, with a surprisingly light landing. Several fire trucks and ambulances greeted us at the bottom and an inspection took place. Now we have arrived at a gate. I need a drink.

We contacted Air Canada for comment and received a prompt reply:


Air Canada flight AC 860 Halifax to London a B-767-300 with 138 passengers on board. Approximately 35 min after departure the left engine suffered a malfunction which caused a loud noise. As per our Standard Operating Procedures the pilots shut it down and returned to closest airport.
Due to the unfavourable weather conditions in Halifax the flight continued to Montreal. It is important to note that the flight landed safely and without incident. Standard Operating procedures also require that emergency vehicles are on hand for the landing as a matter of precaution.
All passengers spent the night at hotels and the flight will redepart this morning with another aircraft. The aircraft is now out of service and the engine will undergo a full inspection.
We understand that this event was unsettling for our passengers but all crew members are fully trained to handle situations of this nature, including our flight attendants ensuring the cabin and passengers are safe for landing.  
Was the plane hit by lightning?  We'll have to wait for the results of the inspection. But with literally thousands of lightning strikes in the province overnight, it doesn't seem impossible.


Photopool: Thunder and lightning storm June 2011

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