Passenger plane drops propeller over Sydney

Regional Express plane in emergency landing at Sydney airport
Regional Express plane in emergency landing at Sydney airport

A PLANE travelling from regional NSW to Sydney has been forced to make an emergency landing after a propeller fell off the aircraft and plunged to the ground over the city's suburbs.

The Regional Express (Rex) Saab 340 was travelling from Albury when the propeller detached from the fuselage mid-flight.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating the incident and has advised anyone who finds aircraft debris to not handle it but report it to authorities.

Flight ZL768, which was approaching Kingsford Smith Airport from the north according to data from website Flightaware, landed safely at Sydney about midday. There are no reports of any injuries among the 16 passengers and three crew.

In the pan-pan call, the crew said the propeller assembly had "dislodged", Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson told AAP, while photographs of the plane on the ground showed the right propeller missing altogether. Mr Gibson said during his 20 years in the aviation industry he'd never heard of a propeller falling off a plane.

"I've never come across it ... it's very unusual," he said.

A "pan-pan" is one step away from a full mayday distress call.

The propeller detached about 19kms from Sydney airport which could mean any debris is located somewhere close to Gordon and Pymble in Sydney's north shore or the Ku-ring-gai Chase national park. However, there are some reports it could have occurred earlier in the flight, placing debris over the city's south west.

The Rex plane sans one propeller at Sydney airport. Picture Grahame Hutchison
The Rex plane sans one propeller at Sydney airport. Picture Grahame Hutchison

The ATSB is deploying a team of three investigators with expertise in materials failure engineering, recorded flight data analysis, and human factors.

In a statement, the ATSB said, "Over the next few days, investigators will examine the aircraft, interview the flight and cabin crew, collect maintenance records and recorded flight data.

"The ATSB urges anyone who finds a piece of suspected aircraft debris NOT to handle it."

Rather, people should call local police or the ATSB on 1800 020 616.

Topics:  editors picks plane sydney

News Corp Australia

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Footy dad: I can hold my head high

Geoffrey Whittaker says it's 'awesome' to see justice served after enduring a trial this week. He was found not guilty of assault.

'I'm glad I'm not the one that looks like the idiot any more'

Footy fight: Coach accused of spiteful, 'vicious' act

Geoffrey James Whittaker, who has pleaded not guilty to assault charges at a football carnival.

'Sometimes it's appropriate to defend oneself by striking first'

Dad 'head-butted' footy coach during kids' rugby carnival

Geoffrey Whittaker has pleaded not guilty two assault charges. The offences are alleged to have occurred during a children's football carnival in 2016.

Geoffrey James Whittaker pleads not guilty to two assault charges

Local Partners