September 13, 2018 12:07 pm
Updated: September 14, 2018 2:02 am

British Airways passengers arrive in Calgary after being stranded in Iqaluit due to ‘fumes event’

WATCH ABOVE: What was supposed to be a long but uneventful flight suddenly turned into an adventure in Canada's arctic. As Blake Lough explains, the in-air emergency has now become a story many passengers will never forget.


Passengers from a British Airways jet that was en route to Calgary when it was diverted to Iqaluit arrived at their final destination Thursday evening.

Their original plane, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which took off from London, U.K., landed at Iqaluit’s airport on Wednesday evening after experiencing what the airline called a “technical issue.” The passengers stayed in Nunavut’s capital overnight.

Malvinder Singh – who admitted he had never heard of Iqaluit prior to the event — said he was happy to arrive in Calgary safe and praised the plane’s crew for their actions.

“We all smelled a little smoke. Obviously when the captain called we knew there was a problem,” Singh said.

“Nobody was screaming or shouting or anything like that… We really appreciated all that they did. Afterwards, [the crew] went around to everybody and they were first-class.”

Blake Lough / Global News

The pilot at the controls was Capt. Richard Dunn. He said the incident on-board was a “fumes event” and made the call to make a precautionary stop in Iqaluit, which was only 160 kilometres away.

“We didn’t know exactly where the fumes were coming from,” he said. “Suddenly, speed becomes a priority.

“It’s a combination of doing something efficiently but also quickly.”

In a statement, British Airways said it “will conduct a thorough inspection of the aircraft.”

Once on the ground in Iqaluit, many passengers stayed at a nearby military barracks where they had access to cots and meals.

“They were absolutely terrific — the people [in Iqaluit] were so friendly and helpful,” passenger Shan Simkins said. “Tick that off our bucket list! It wasn’t on our bucket list but we can tick it off now.”

“The artwork is beautiful, the people are nice,” added Colin Taylor. “It was good.”

On Thursday morning, a second British Airways jet arrived and flew the stranded passengers to Calgary International Airport, arriving at around 6 p.m.

With files from Global News’ Blake Lough and The Canadian Press.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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