What they said:
Witness Andrew Sare:
"There were sirens going off everywhere and from the volume of police cars I thought there was a plane crash. They basically chased down a plane while it was in the air. It looked like something out of a Bruce Willis movie. "
Witness Philippa Green inside Christchurch Airport terminal.
"Passengers were first told to stay away from the terminal's windows. The entire airport is now being evacuated.There are people everywhere saying 'get out, get out, get out'."
Air New Zealand group general manager short haul airline Bruce Parton:
"Today's incident, although a one-off, has naturally given us cause to conduct a thorough review of our safety and security systems and processes on regional domestic flights."
Air National chief executive officer Jason Gray:
"The pilots did an amazing job, which reflects their high level of training and professionalism. We are currently providing them and their families with all necessary support."