An Air Canada flight carrying 318 passengers had to conduct an emergency landing Monday afternoon amid reports that hot chunks of blackened metal were falling from the sky and damaging cars in Mississauga.
Peel police said they believe the falling metal came from the plane but that the Transportation Safety Board of Canada will be able to determine the source in their assessment.
Air Canada Flight 001 took off at about 2:10 p.m. and was en route to Narita, Japan when one of the two engines shut down. The Boeing 777 made an emergency landing at Pearson International Airport at 3:53 p.m. after being in the air for about an hour and a half.
Passenger Bryce Saito said he knew the engine died because there was no noise coming out of it some 15 minutes into the flight.
“That’s when I grabbed my chair. ‘Oh, crap am I going to fall?” he said.
Another passenger, Jason Flick, 42, said he was “quite surprised” that people on board remained calm. “I seemed to be more scared than everyone else.”
A representative from Air Canada said they are unsure why the engine died but they are investigating.
“Aircrafts are designed to fly with one engine and our pilots are trained to fly in such occurrences,” said Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson from Air Canada.
Peel Regional Police answered calls at 2:30 p.m. from residents near Derry and Kennedy Rds. in Mississauga who said pieces of metal falling from the sky damaged their cars.
Jonathan Bergen was inside a Petro-Canada station at around 2 p.m. when a woman ran in to say she heard a big noise and someone’s car was damaged.
To Bergen’s dismay, it was his own dark grey 2005 Nissan Altima.
“The whole windshield was kind of the Spiderman look with a hole in it,” said Bergen, gesturing to his back windshield, which was completely smashed in.
Bergen said three other cars were damaged — one on the front and two with dents in the roof.
Managers at Petro-Canada gave him $2 to use a vacuum to clean up the cracked glass covering his trunk and back seat, and police told Bergen he could drive his car home. He plans to take it into a garage Tuesday.
“It’ll be a nice refreshing ride home,” he said with a smile.
Peel police Const. Fiona Thivierge said there are no injuries from the emergency landing but ambulances were on scene in case of trauma-induced medical emergencies.
“People could be hyperventilating or have a heart attack. We have ambulances there just in case,” said Thivierge. “I’d be freaking out if it were me.”
David Unger works two blocks from the airport and was on break when he heard an exceptionally loud take-off around 2:25 p.m. He said he looked up to see an Air Canada plane with smoke and fire coming out of its right engine.
“I could see fire in the back part of the engine and I went ‘Well that’s not supposed to happen,’” Unger told the Star.
Neither Air Canada nor police could confirm whether the engine caught fire.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada was conducting an assessment on scene to determine the cause of the engine breakdown. The assessment could take up to 72 hours. If they do not discover the cause, they will launch a full investigation.
Meanwhile, Air Canada will put passengers on a morning flight to Japan.
With files from Laura Stone