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Air NZ plane crash lands, investigation underway

Thursday 30 Sep 2010 10:25 p.m.

By Tim Lambourne

Investigations are underway into a crash landing at Woodbourne Airport in Blenheim tonight.

The Air Nelson Q300 plane - which is a subsidiary company of Air New Zealand - experienced a nose wheel failure.

Luckily none of the 49 passengers and crew on board were injured.

Flight NZ 8441 took off from Wellington this evening and was due to land in Nelson.

However, bad weather forced the plane, a bombardier Q300, to circle the airport before it was eventually diverted to Woodbourne Airport in Blenheim.

At that stage there was no indication of any problems with the landing gear.

It wasn't until the approach in Blenheim that the pilots discovered there was a fault and emergency services were called to the scene.

As the plane touched down the nose wheel collapsed. No one was hurt in the crash and passengers were bussed to their original destination of Nelson.

“We’d had two goes at landing in Nelson then heading off to Blenheim and had to circle there while he [the pilot] was checking out why the under carriage wasn’t locked down, and then finally landing and coming to a grinding halt in the middle of the runway,” says passenger Morrie Love.

Coincidentally, in the last week two other Bombardier made aircraft have had landing gear problems in the United States.

In both cases the planes touched down with no injury to anyone on board. That brings the total number of Bombardier planes to suffer landing gear problems in the US to six in the last two years.

Authorities are investigating to see if there's a connection but Air New Zealand says tonight's crash landing is completely unrelated as its plane is a different type of aircraft.

However, they're already in contact with Bombardier and will be working with them to investigate the issue.

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