Own Correspondent|Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767-200, registration Z-WPF performing flight UM-462 from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Harare (Zimbabwe) with 98 passengers and 9 crew, was climbing out of Johannesburg’s runway 03L when the crew declared “Mayday Mayday Mayday” and requested to stop climb at FL090 and return to Johannesburg.
The crew advised they had left hand engine (PW4056) surges. While turning south on radar vectors the engine recovered, the crew subsequently reported the fault had cleared and they had normal operation about 10 minutes later, they wanted to continue to Harare. The aircraft climbed to FL390 and continued to Harare where the aircraft landed safely about 90 minutes after departure.
Johannesburg’s ATC had alerted emergency services, who had assumed their stand by positions, had halted departures and sent arrivals into holds for the emergency return. After the crew had reported the fault had cleared ATC resumed operations at Johannesburg Airport and stood down emergency services.
Ground witnesses reported they saw the aircraft repeatedly banging and emitted streaks of flame, while the aircraft was turning south the surges stopped. The aircraft turned north again and climbed out of sight.
The aircraft was transporting callsign AZW-303 (UM-303), the previous inbound flight’s callsign from Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) to Johannesburg.
Air Zimbabwe has confirmed that one of its aeroplanes experienced a “malfunction” in one of its engines, causing a brief fire during a flight from OR Tambo international airport to Harare on Sunday evening.
The airline said in a statement that its Boeing 767-200ER aircraft servicing flight UM462 experienced a malfunction in one of its engines, which caused a “brief” tailpipe fire.
The carrier said the malfunction did not threaten the continuation of the flight or the safety of the crew and passengers on board, and that the aircraft landed safely in Harare at 20:35h.
Air Zimbabwe confirmed that their engineers have started their investigation into the incident. “We regret to inform our valued passengers that this incident may result in a disruption of our normal schedule.”
In March, the struggling national airline said that its only aircraft, which services all its routes, had to undergo engine repairs and could not be fixed in time for all flights to be carried out as normal.