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Emergency Landing at Invercargill Airport Following Engine Fire on Boeing 737

Flames seen coming from Virgin aircraft over Queenstown

A Virgin Australia Boeing 737 made an emergency landing at Invercargill Airport this evening after flames were seen coming from one of its engines shortly after takeoff from Queenstown Airport. The incident, attributed to a bird strike, caused loud bangs and visible flames, alarming both passengers and witnesses on the ground. The flight, VA148, had just departed for Melbourne at 5:59 PM when the engine trouble occurred.

Witnesses described the alarming scene, with one individual noting the aircraft's unusual pulsing noise and flames shooting from the engine. Passengers on board reported feeling the flames, and the pilot confirmed the bird strike over the public address system. Video footage shared on social media showed the flames coming from the plane as it climbed over the Shotover River. Despite the initial scare, the pilot managed to safely divert the aircraft to Invercargill, where it landed without further incident shortly before 7 PM.

Emergency services were on high alert, with Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) deploying multiple fire engines and a water tanker as a precaution. Fortunately, no injuries were reported, and all 73 passengers were safely evacuated. Virgin Australia's chief operations officer, Stuart Aggs, emphasised that the safety of guests and crew is the airline's highest priority. The Civil Aviation Authority will likely conduct a thorough investigation to assess the damage and prevent similar incidents in the future.



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