An Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Palmerston North was abandoned just after take-off yesterday after smoke appeared in the cockpit.
Neither the crew nor the 52 passengers on board the ATR turboprop aircraft, which was operating as NZ5071, were injured when the plane landed just before 9am. Those on board were evacuated on to the runway.
Army cadet Oliver Zurrer said the aircraft was still climbing when the emergency began.
"Apparently there was smoke, but I didn't see anything. We were still climbing but [the pilot] levelled within seconds. We landed again and were evacuated on to the runway."
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He and other passengers were rebooked on a later flight to Palmerston North, Zurrer said.
A Fire Service spokeswoman said the passengers had been evacuated by the time fire crews arrived.
An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said engineers were looking for the cause of the smoke. An Auckland Airport spokesman said there were some delays as a result of the incident but flights were normal by late morning.