03 June 2012
Great Barrier Airlines Trislander Fire Postscript
Following on from yesterday's post on the GBA Trislander incident at Auckland here is some more from today's NZ Herald. For the full report and a DRAMATIC picture see...
A family's holiday turned to terror yesterday when the plane they were in caught fire while preparing to take off from Auckland Airport. Taupo mum Kelly de la Mare knew something was wrong when the pilot of her Great Barrier Airlines flight turned to his passengers and yelled "get out". De la Mare says the quick actions of the 26-year-old pilot, known only as David, helped save the lives of his 11 passengers after the plane, a 15-seat Britten-Norman Trislander, caught fire while taxiing yesterday morning. No one was injured in the 8am fire, thought to have been caused when a brake jammed on one of the plane's wheels. The experience was terrifying, de la Mare said. The 41-year-old was travelling to Great Barrier Island for a fishing holiday with her partner Lawry Bidgood, daughter Shyniese, 16, and Lawry's daughter Sage, 11, when the drama began. She saw flames and smoke rising outside her window, next to one of the plane's doors. "I just thought 'oh s***'. But before I had my seatbelt off the pilot was outside opening the door. He moved really quickly. People were shaking his hand afterwards, he did a fantastic job."
Bidgood, also a pilot who planned to fly the family to the island but changed his mind over worries about the weather, did not think passengers were in any danger but praised the pilot. Although frightened - Shyniese said she was afraid the plane was going to blow up - passengers calmly left the plane before the smoke became too thick, de la Mare said. Great Barrier Airlines ground staff used fire extinguishers before airport firefighters put out the fire. All of the passengers happily boarded a new plane, with a new pilot, about an hour later, she said. The airline has suffered a number of failures in recent years.
Posted by Steve L at 2:45 PM