By Leopold Munhende
AIR ZIMBABWE’S only operational commercial plane on its way to Islamabad, Pakistan was Wednesday forced to make an emergency landing shortly after take-off in Bangkok, Thailand when it experienced engine failure.
The plane was headed for Islamabad, Pakistan on a mission to repatriate 180 Zimbabweans and South Africans affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Air Zimbabwe management confirmed the incident in a statement.
The plane had on board 17 crew members and two passengers, and in Islamabad, it was scheduled to collect 180 passengers.
“Air Zimbabwe special repatriation flight UM462 flying from Bangkok was early morning forced to make an air turn back to Islamabad resulting from an abnormal engine parameter which necessitated a precautionary left engine shutdown in accordance with established standard operating procedures,” the national airline said.
“The B767-200 ER aircraft which had 17 crew and two passengers on board, landed safely at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok at 0839hrs (UTC).
“The aircraft was positioning to Islamabad to pick-up 180 passengers returning to South Africa and Zimbabwe. Our engineers are making all necessary assessments and maintenance for its return to serviceability.”
Last year in April, the same plane caught fire soon after take-off at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Its crew requested to return to OR Tambo Airport, but while turning back the fire disappeared and it continued with its flight to Harare.
Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo said in the Senate Wednesday, the same plane is expected to pick-up a number of stranded students in China after leaving Islamabad.