Christchurch to Dunedin flight turned back after concerns over hitting an object

An Air New Zealand flight from Christchurch to Dunedin turned back on Friday night after the pilots became concerned they hit an object.

Data on website Flight Radar shows NZ5759 flew in a figure-eight pattern, leaving Christchurch and flying towards Timaru before turning around and ending up back in the garden city.

The flight left for Dunedin at 7:13pm and was back in Christchurch less than an hour later at around 8:04pm.

The flight landed safely in Christchurch and the plane will be inspected by engineers, an Air New Zealand spokesperson told Newshub.

The spokesperson said the pilots thought a wheel in the landing gear had hit something on departure.

Emergency services were not alerted to the incident, and the spokesperson said passengers were provided with hotel rooms and put on alternative services on Saturday.