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Jet Lands With No Engine Power

Aired August 29, 2001 - 07:07   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Here's an incredible story of an emergency landing: A jetliner with 304 people aboard lost both engines while flying over the Atlantic Ocean.

Canadian TV reporter Genevieve Beauchemin tells us what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GENEVIEVE BEAUCHEMIN, CTV NEWS REPORTER (voice-over): Captain Robert Piche arrived back home and landed in the spotlight.

ROBERT PICHE, AIR TRANSAT PILOT: Well, this thing is getting -- going a little too big, you know. I know that people like to know, and they like to know what has happened and everything, but we just did our job, you know.

BEAUCHEMIN: But the job was a rough ride. His plane sprang a fuel leak crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a trip from Toronto to Lisbon. Both engines shut down. Piche guided the gliding plane without engine power for 18 minutes, bringing it to a halt on a small island runway.

PICHE: The only thing really to think about anything else than taking care of the safety of your passenger, you know. That's your goal.

BEAUCHEMIN: The first officer says the conversation in the cockpit during Flight 236 was about checklists and procedures.

DIRK DEJAGER, CO-PILOT: Of course, you go oops, but you only go oops for maybe a second, and then it's back to business.

BEAUCHEMIN: And business included preparing the cabin. The crew denied passenger reports that flight attendants were panicked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When they hear us screaming and yelling -- there are no PAs. It's our voices and we have to be as loud so that we can gain the attention of the passengers.

BEAUCHEMIN: The long glide and safe landing of 291 passengers has earned the pilot and co-pilot plenty of praise.

DAVID COLLENETTE, CANADIAN TRANSPORT MINISTER: They were minutes away from the plane going into the ocean, and so the effort to bring that plane down without engines is undoubtedly heroic.

BEAUCHEMIN: But investigators are looking at just how long it took the crew to notice the leak and why they were not able to cap it.

(on camera): Portuguese authorities have released preliminary findings that show a fuel line on the right engine failed. However, the investigation is just beginning.

(voice-over): "The Globe And Nail" will report Wednesday that the right engine was replaced just last week, a procedure which involves disconnecting the fuel line. Investigators will look at whether that was done properly.

Transport Canada says Air Canada and Air Transat have now checked airbuses in their fleet and have found no other fuel line problems.

And for now, Air Transat says its passengers can be confident, especially with pilots like Piche at the controls.

Genevieve Beauchemin, CTV news, Mirabel, Quebec.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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