Watch above: Passengers aboard a Sunwing flight bound for Varadero, Cuba Friday night were left shaken after some tense moments.
EDMONTON — There were some tense moments on a Sunwing flight from Edmonton to Cuba, which was forced to make an unscheduled landing back at EIA following a maintenance issue.
Flight SWG696 from Edmonton to Varadero was scheduled to depart EIA at 7:35 p.m. Friday. It was delayed for several hours, though, because the flight crew was delayed due to poor weather conditions. Once the plane eventually took off, at 11:10 p.m., it began circling the city. Passengers on the plane said an announcement was made to say they were “experiencing difficulty.”
“She said due to cold weather these things occur. That was basically all that was said at that time,” said Elizabeth, who asked her last name not be published.
After two hours of circling, according to Elizabeth, the plane landed back in Edmonton. She says the landing was unusually rough.
“It was a very, very hard landing and sliding on the runway, coming to an abrupt stop,” Elizabeth said over the phone from EIA Saturday morning. “Very, very rough and bumpy.”
Emergency crews met the plane on the tarmac, which the Edmonton International Airport says is common practice when any flight makes an unscheduled landing. The passengers were given pizza or a food voucher and told to wait until it was safe for the flight to leave.
Elizabeth, who spent the night in the airport, says she and many other passengers were frustrated because no one from the company provided any explanation as to why the plane was forced back to EIA.
“People are very upset, lots of people getting very angry, asking questions, wanting to know what’s going on,” she said.
“(There’s) no one here to represent the company, no management coming in to try to explain what happened with the plane and why this occurred.”
Saturday afternoon, a spokesperson with Sunwing Travel Group told Global News the plane “had to circle the airport and return to the gate due to a maintenance issue causing a flap to malfunction on the wing.” However, Janine Chapman, vice president of marketing with Sunwing, said there was nothing irregular or rough about the plane’s landing.
“We are apologetic for the inconvenience,” Chapman wrote in an email.
The passengers took off for Varadero, Cuba at 11:15 a.m. Saturday.