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Engine failure: Alaska Airline jet was diverted to Juneau

Passengers stayed overnight, continued to Anchorage

Posted: December 25, 2012 - 1:00am

Alaska Airlines Flight 731 took off from Seattle around 9 p.m. with 167 passengers and crew Sunday bound for Anchorage, but the flight became anything but routine. One of the Boeing 737 900’s two main engines shut down as it neared Ketchikan. The jet continued to fly on its left engine for a safe touchdown in Juneau.

“The 737 900 is designed to fly capably on one engine,” said Paul McElroy, spokesman for Alaska Airlines. “Pilots followed standard procedures and landed in Juneau without incident at approximately 11:10 p.m. AST.”

“In cases like this get pilots call ahead for priority handling from air traffic control,” McElroy said. “This is standard any time anything goes wrong during a flight.”

McElroy said Alaska Airlines is not releasing the names of the crew at this time.

Alaska Airlines arranged hotels for most of the flight’s passengers. Some decided to stay at the airport. Passengers flew out to their original destination Monday morning and mid-afternoon Monday.

McElroy said he was not aware of any medical issues.

On the ground, the City and Borough of Juneau’s special airport division of Capital City Fire and Rescue was on alert and stood by with emergency equipment. Capital City partners with the airport to provide Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting or ARFF.

“We were all on standby as well,” Patty deLaBruere deputy airport manager at the Juneau International Airport. Airport workers were on scene to keep the runway open afterward flight 731 had landed.

Some airport staff were called back in to help, deLaBruere said, including extra security, airport management and, to make matters trickier, staff to clear the snow that fell Sunday night.

No other flight was delayed due to the incident, deLaBruere said, although passengers of Flight 731 may have been delayed in their other connections, she said.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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