A Canadian province known for the warmth and hospitality shown to thousands of airline passengers diverted after the Sep. 11 attacks has again hosted hundreds of surprise visitors — this time, because of what Delta Air Lines described as a “mechanical issue” with one of its planes.
The company said the flight, which left Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon and was bound for Detroit, was forced to land in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, a coastal town of around 8,000 people in the northeastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador, after an engine de-icer stopped working.
The 270 passengers, three pilots and seven flight attendants all spent the night in an army barracks in the town, a Delta spokesman said by email.
“Crew duty times were impacted due to weather and runway conditions at the Goose Bay airport causing the airport to suspend operations,” he said, noting that Delta sent additional aircraft to the airport to transport the passengers to Detroit on Monday. “We apologize to customers for this inconvenience.”
“Wildest emergency landing,” wrote one person.
Another pleaded: “Please send rescue!”
Trevor Wilson, a passenger traveling home from a work trip in Europe, said in a phone interview that he had first noticed that something was wrong when the flight path on the screen in the seat back in front of him appeared to show a hairpin turn. Shortly after that, crew members told passengers about the problem with the de-icer, said Mr. Wilson, 42.
After waiting on the airplane for several hours, he said, passengers were moved to a second plane bound for Detroit, but were then informed that the crew’s overtime meant they could no longer operate the plane legally. The passengers were then given pizza, he added, and taken to army barracks for the night.
The Delta spokesman said that the company had worked with officials in Goose Bay to arrange for food, water and accommodation, and would compensate customers for the experience, but declined to get into specifics.
The Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday evening.
In 2001, thousands of airline passengers were stranded for days in Newfoundland and Labrador after dozens of planes were diverted to the province in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. The majority of those planes were diverted to Gander, a town in the northeastern part of the province whose benevolence during a global crisis inspired the award-winning musical “Come From Away.”
Mr. Wilson, the passenger in the Delta plane, said that he’d thought of the musical almost instantly when he learned of the diversion to Canada. “This is a tiny town, and the people there, they just really wanted to help us out,” he said, noting that locals had helped ferry the passengers on buses and made them hot chocolate.
He added, “Everybody was super, super, super nice.”