WestJet Passengers on diverted flight told ‘get out right now’
TORONTO – WestJet passengers on a flight diverted to Winnipeg Monday night say they had to make a dramatic exit as soon as they landed on the tarmac.
The Toronto-bound flight was travelling from Edmonton around 8:30 pm Monday when it made an unexpected turn and started to descend towards Winnipeg.
Passenger Garland Koch says the flight crew then told them they had to land but couldn’t say why.
“He was very clear with us, ‘I don’t know what’s going on….as soon as we know, we will let you know, ” said Koch. “It was shortly after that they said ‘evacuate, evacuate, evacuate’.”
Several passengers used the emergency slide, while Koch says he leaped to the ground from the wing.
“I just jumped off the wing…it was like ‘you’ve got to get out right now’ so you did,” said Koch from Toronto.
All 54 passengers and five crew members were evacuated and spent the night in Winnipeg, before departing for Toronto again Tuesday morning.
Winnipeg fire crews and RCMP were dispatched at roughly 8:30 p.m. Monday for the report of an aircraft with a bomb threat. The RCMP explosives canine unit was also called in, RCMP said Tuesday morning.
WestJet tweeted from their account just before 9 p.m. confirming that flight WS442 from Edmonton to Toronto was diverted to Winnipeg after receiving a threat. The aircraft landed safely and was evacuated, with guests and crew using emergency chutes deployed from the doors.
Those who had been evacuated were sheltered in city buses nearby then driven away.
In a tweet WestJet said six of the passengers had to be taken to hospital for injuries sustained during evacuation.
As of 11 p.m. CST there were seven delayed arrivals and one delayed departure at the airport. It is unclear if the delays were a direct impact of the diverted plane. Other flights were still on schedule.
The airline would not provide any information on the nature of the threat.
This is the second time a WestJet flight was forced to make an emergency landing due to a threat in recent days. A similar situation led to a WestJet flight being diverted and landing in Saskatoon over the weekend.
-with files from Canadian Press
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