B.C. WestJet flight lands safely after problem with landing gear forces reroute

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – A WestJet plane has landed safely in Prince George, British Columbia, after a potential problem with the aircraft’s landing gear forced it to divert from its original flight plan on Tuesday.

Airline spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said the crew aboard WestJet Encore flight 3105 declared an emergency around 10:30 a.m.

“The flight crew received an indication of a potential issue with the nose landing gear,” Stewart said in an email. The flight crew rerouted the plane “out of an abundance of caution,” she added.

The flight left Vancouver Tuesday morning for Terrace, B.C., but touched down instead about 550 kilometres east of there in Prince George at around 11:45 a.m.

The plane landed normally and no one was injured, Stewart said.

The decision was made to divert because of better weather in Prince George, which would allow the airport’s control tower to visually check to make sure that the landing gear was down, Stewart said.

“This is a common practice, where the aircraft would do a fly-by and receive confirmation from the air traffic controller that the gear was in place for landing.”

There were 40 people and four crew on board the twin-turboprop Bombardier Q400, part of WestJet’s Encore fleet, which services smaller communities.

The Prince George Airport Authority activated its emergency operations centre and spokeswoman Lindsay Cotter said emergency personnel arrived quickly on scene.

“We just operate our operation centre as per our emergency management system and we do what we need to do in terms of getting people in the rights places and helping the airline any way that we can,” she said in an interview.

WestJet will return passengers to Vancouver, where they will be able to stay or continue on to Terrace.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the plane landed at 11:30 p.m.