An Air Zimbabwe plane was forced to turn back about halfway into a Harare-Bulawayo flight Wednesday after developing an engine fault.
Flight UM331 was said to have been carrying 60 passengers, some of them members of an Australian parliamentary delegation visiting the country.
Passengers boarded the plane for the 45-minute flight at around 07.15 hours but the pilot was forced to return to Harare International Airport 20 minutes later.
Air Zimbabwe public relations executive, Shingai Dhliwayo, could not be reached for comment.
However, a company official confirmed the incident.
“Passengers boarded the plane and after some five minutes the pilot started the engines and then stopped again,” said the official who requested anonymity.
“Engineers were called and looked at the engine after which the plane took off. But after about 20 minutes, it made a U-turn.
“The pilot did not say anything; perhaps he didn’t want to cause panic among passengers.
“After landing safely in Harare, he then announced that the plane had developed an engine failure.”
One of the passengers Kelvin Mbuko from Zvishavane said most passengers did not know the plane had developed a fault until it had landed back at Harare International Airport.
“It was a bit scary to learn that the plane had developed a fault mid-air. But we thank God we landed safely,” he said.
Sources said several passengers believed to be parliamentarians from Australia refused to board the plane again after it was attended to by engineers, delaying the 45 minute journey by nearly two hours.
From : Zimbabwe Situation
7 August 2014