Detached plane propeller still missing

A propeller which separated from a plane over Camden on Friday is yet to be found.

The propeller detached from the Regional Express Saab 340 plane on a flight from Albury to Sydney

None of the 19 people on board were injured and the pilot safely landed Flight ZL768 at Sydney Airport.

The engine minus the separated propeller

The engine minus the separated propeller

The Air Transport Safety Bureau is currently investigating to find the cause behind the propeller’s separation from the aircraft and where the propeller could have landed.

Experts believe it most likely landed in the Camden area.

Region Express today released a statement detailing its findings from the past three days of internal investigation.

The investigations revealed the flight crew noticed ‘abnormal indications’ on the right hand engine and – following procedure – shut down the engine.

The First Officer then noticed the propeller separate from the shaft, rotate upwards and then move away without making contact with the plane.

Until the cause of the mysterious separation can be removed, the airline has decided to suspend all propellers of the same make.

Regional Express chief operating officer Neville Howard praised the action of the captain and crew for following procedure and handling the situation with aplomb.

“The crew demonstrated enormous composure and discipline under extraordinary circumstances and I commend their professionalism,” Mr Howard said.

“The captain displayed exceptional skills in landing the aircraft so smoothly in bad weather and strong winds, so much so that the passengers did not notice anything different.”

Passenger Alyce Fisher

Passenger Alyce Fisher

One passenger on board the aircraft talked Fairfax Media through the moment she saw the propeller floating away from the plane.

“I just happened to be glancing out the window when a large thing hit the plane,” Ms Fisher said.

“At first I thought it was a very large bird which hit the wing and was tumbling off in the distance. But it wasn't a bird – it was the propeller coming off.”

Ms Fisher, 30, from Albury, said the separation of the propeller from the plane happened in a split second.

It was not until the aircraft landed at Sydney Airport and was surrounded by emergency services that the 16 passengers on board began to realise the seriousness of the situation.

“We were quite lucky that it flew off in the direction that it did," she said.

Earlier, about two-thirds of the way into their journey from Albury to Sydney, passengers felt an intense vibration but, after what Ms Fisher thought at the time was a bird strike, it stopped and the flight was smooth.

Moments after the propeller fell off about 19 kilometres from Sydney Airport, one of the pilots told passengers over the PA system that the plane was down to one engine.

“He never said that there would be an emergency landing,” Ms Fisher told Fairfax Media on Saturday.

“There was no panic. Coming into Sydney there was a bit of turbulence, which was to be expected.”

Ms Fisher said one of the pilots emerged from the cockpit after landing and gazed out a cabin window.

“Yeah, it's really gone,” he said, and moments later passengers responded by cheering and clapping.

“He did an amazing job," Ms Fisher said.

The Advertiser has contacted the Air Transport Safety Bureau for comment.


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