Nfld. & Labrador

United Church of Canada official on troubled Toronto-Deer Lake flight relieved to be safe

A United Church minister says she’s thankful to be safe on the ground today, after her Toronto-Deer Lake flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Halifax Wednesday evening.

'I think everyone on the plane was thinking of their families'

A United Church official says she's thankful to be safe on the ground today after her Toronto-Deer Lake flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Halifax Wednesday evening.

A cabin pressure issue caused Air Canada flight 682 to declare an emergency as it headed east.
Minister Nora Sanders was on her way to the United Church of Canada General Council in Corner Brook Wednesday evening, when her flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Halifax. (LinkedIn)

"We started descending very rapidly, oxygen masks came down and we were told to use them and we were told to stay calm," said Nora Sanders, general secretary at the United Church of Canada.

"At first I thought it was a mistake, you never think that's actually going to happen."

However, when the crew began instructing passengers to stay calm and use the masks, Sanders knew something was wrong.

"I think everyone on the plane was thinking of their families, I know I was thinking of my son," Sanders said.

"I pulled out the 23rd Psalm and found some comfort there. It was one of those moments where you didn't know what to expect."

Sanders was on her way to the United Church of Canada General Council in Corner Brook, along with eight other ministers. Although they were not sitting together, she said she was thinking of her colleagues as the flight descended.

Sanders said the staff on board stayed calm and handled the situation very well. At first crews told passengers they would be rerouted to Moncton, before saying they were headed to Halifax.

"Everyone relaxed a little bit when they said there was a plan, I think," she said.

"It seemed to me I'd say we were 20 minutes with the oxygen mask, but you sort of don't have a clear sense of time and I didn't check my watch."

The flight, with 93 people on board, touched down safely at Halifax Stanfield International Airport at around 6:30 p.m. AT, airport officials said.

Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick said it wasn't immediately clear what caused the pressurization issue.

Halifax airport spokesperson Peter Spurway said that crews are now examining the aircraft.

Passengers were rebooked on another flight to Deer Lake later Wednesday evening.

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