El Al Flight ELY008 from JFK Airport bound for Tel Aviv made an emergency landing in Goose Bay, Canada after a red light indicated some kind of engine or landing gear trouble. According to a passenger on board, fuel had to be dumped on their way to the closest landing in Goose Bay. Multiple passengers said that the plane was shaking terribly when the pilot called “mayday” and made the landing on the small air strip belong to the Canadian military. El Al said the flight made the emergency landing due to a technical malfunction, and “El Al staff are working to repair the malfunction and to take care of the passengers”. A replacement jet was dispatched to do just that.
Frigid temperatures gripped JFK creating havoc with operations there in previous days and the weather was not better in Goose Bay. The airport is too small to have a 2/7 mechanic schooled in 747, so the plane was stuck on the snow packed tarmac for 12 hours before a rescue plane arrived. JFK was the closest airport being about 3 hours away, so the station manager and service crew climbed aboard the 747 at 1am Sunday morning heading to Goose Bay at an unusual 770mph.
According the Gil Radomsky, “There was no choice but to take the replacement plane and get to the passengers as quickly as we could”. After hours of waiting the second 747 landed in frigid temps to begin the transport from one plane to another continuation of the trip to Israel.
The passengers were stranded on the 747 in Goose bay since there were no facilities to offload the travelers. When the rescue 747 reached the other plane, the pilots had announced that people should make sure the elderly and the woman are taken care of during the walk across the snowy and freezing cold tarmac.
Buses were available at the end of the staircase from the plane to the ground, and everyone quickly moved to the bus in the temperatures of -10 degrees Fahrenheit, with wind chills resulting in what felt like -32 degrees.
Passengers transferred to the replacement plane then continued their journey to Tel Aviv with no injuries arriving 26 hours after originally leaving JFK Airport.