Delta sent another plane to pick up the 194 passengers after the original plane was forced to land because of possible engine problems. The flight back to Seattle landed at about 10 p.m. Monday.
A Delta Air Lines flight from Beijing to Seattle was forced to land on a remote Alaskan island Monday after pilots were alerted to a “potential engine issue,” leaving almost 200 on board stranded for more than 12 hours.
The carrier sent another aircraft to pick up the 194 passengers, Delta spokeswoman Savannah Huddleston said in an emailed statement. That flight landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at about 10 p.m. Monday, Delta said.
On Wednesday, Huddleston said the plane that was forced to land was returned to service, declining to disclose more information on the engine problem.
The diverted plane, Delta Flight 128, was a Boeing 767-300ER. The plane sent from Seattle to pick up the passengers landed at Eareckson Air Station at 1:10 p.m. Seattle time, about 11 hours after their arrival, according to data from FlightAware, a flight-tracking website.
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The flight was diverted to Shemya Island, which is part of the Aleutian chain off the coast of Alaska. The airline sent maintenance technicians, customer service agents and a new crew to work on the flight back to Seattle, Huddleston said.
Eareckson Air Station serves as an Air Force refueling hub and an emergency-landing site for civilian aircraft. Shemya Island is 1,450 miles from Anchorage.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman couldn’t be reached to comment because of the partial federal government shutdown.
University of Washington graduate Zhen Tian, 22, said her parents were on the flight coming to visit Seattle for the first time. It was her mother’s first international flight and she was anxious, especially because she doesn’t speak English, Zhen said.
“I bet she is so nervous by now,” Zhen said on Monday.
Around 6 a.m. Monday, Zhen checked her parents’ flight status to make sure it hadn’t been delayed. She was surprised to see the plane had landed in Alaska, and that she hadn’t received information about the diversion from Delta. She said she called the airline’s customer-service line and was relieved to hear the plane had landed safely, but was still worried because she hadn’t heard from her parents. She assumed they didn’t have cell service.
“Delta apologizes to customers for the delay and has sent another aircraft to continue the flight to Seattle,” Huddleston said. “The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s top priority.”
Information from The Associated Press is included in this story.
Correction: The name of the airline, Delta Air Lines, was corrected. An earlier version of the story referred to the airline as Delta Airlines.