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Plane issues mayday, makes emergency landing in Melbourne

9/01/2014 Benjamin Millar
Air New Zealand. © Bloomberg Air New Zealand.

An Air New Zealand A320 made an emergency landing at Melbourne Airport about 8pm Thursday night after reports of engine trouble.

Auckland-bound Flight Z726 with 145 passengers and six crew issued a mayday call soon after taking off at 7.48pm.

Flight #NZ726 as it was coming into land

— Race Horse Photos (@racehorsephotos) January 9, 2014

The plane took off over the northern suburbs and tracked east but banked sharply as it flew over the Dandenong Ranges, circling over the bay and returning to the airport.

MFB and CFA fire and rescue crews, along with Victoria police and AFP officers, raced to the runway as the plane circled.

Air New Zealand NZ726 returned to MEL after take off. Right hand engine failure with fuel leak accordning to

— (@flightradar24) January 9, 2014

Melbourne Airport spokeswoman Anna Gillett said the A320 landed safely and without reported injury.

‘‘We will be working with Air New Zealand for the comfort and the safety of their passengers.’’

The incident has not affected the airport’s operations or other flights. 

Air New Zealand is reportedly investigating the cause of the engine fault.

Passenger Jeremy Elwood said there was a calm atmosphere when the plane began to return to the airport despite passengers being in the dark about the reason for the turn-around.

The Auckland comedian said he knew something was wrong when the plane began to circle shortly after take-off.

"I was sitting on the left hand side of the plane and apparently the problem was with an engine on the right," he said.

"You could tell something was wrong but there was no panic. It was a pretty standard landing."

Mr Elwood said once safely grounded the captain explained that there had been a problem with the engine.

"The captain came on the PA and said there was an engine failure and apologised that they had been too busy dealing with it to explain what was happening any sooner."

Air New Zealand was finding accommodation for the passengers in Melbourne on Thursday night until new flights could be arranged for Friday. 

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