A chartered Novair jet carrying 175 passengers bound for Crete punctured a tire on take-off from Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen (OSL) on Sunday evening. With mostly Norwegian passengers on board, its pilot opted to return to OSL for an emergency landing.
The Airbus A321 took off at 6:30pm with a flight plan to Chania on the Greek island, when a warning light indicated the left front wheel was punctured. The pilot then opted to circle over southeastern Norway for several hours, in order to burn off as much jet fuel as possible before attempting the landing.
Airport officials, meanwhile, had organized an emergency response that included three fire trucks in addition to the airport’s own emergency crews and equipment. A Sea King helicopter was also standing by to assist if necessary.
Pilots are trained for such situations and the emergency landing went smoothly. Passengers, most of them heading for holidays on Crete through the tour operator Apollo, were then assembled for a debriefing at the airport and offered hotel rooms and a later flight if they wanted to continue with the trip. Others were reunited with worried family members, many of whom had assembled at the airport.
“Everything went as we’d hoped and as it should,” Lasse André Vangstein of OSL told state broadcaster NRK. Passengers reported that the situation seemed “unreal” but that there as little if any panic on board.
“There were lots of different reactions, but they (the crew) calmed us down,” passenger Trine Vold told NRK. Others also said that the Novair crew handled the situation well.