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Delta 767 Diversion Leaves Passengers on a Remote Aleutian Island on Christmas Eve

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Passengers aboard DAL128, from Beijing (PEK/ZBAA) to Seattle (SEA/KSEA) had a wrench thrown into their Christmas Eve travel when a suspected mechanical problem forced their plane off course on Monday. The B767 made an unexpected stop on the remote island of Shemya in the Aleutian Islands on Christmas Eve. The diversion was caused by what is being reported as “potential engine issue.” ( Mais...

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sparkie624 18
Safety first.... To hell with the passengers... I guess the complaining passengers would like to be in the Head Lines of the next "Air Disaster" episode... Pilot did what was right... Planes break, and usually not when or where we want them to.
matt jensen 7
It's not like they had a choice in the matter. But they weren't stranded. Delta sent another aircraft to pick up the passengers in Shemya and take them the rest of the way to Seattle. It arrived mid-day and headed toward Seattle around 4 p.m
Bill Harris 22
Imagine being the Delta reserve crew and getting that phone call: "We have to deadhead a 767 where?"
Torsten Hoff 10
Or being the mechanics that are tasked with fixing the engine in the middle of nowhere. Check out Shemya on Google Earth — they don’t have a hangar big enough to accommodate a 767, so you get to troubleshoot and fix the engine out in the open during the Alaskan winter.,174.1058839,13z/data=!3m1!1e3
Wolfgang Prigge 9
Looks like a treeless, windswept plateau. The mechanics deserve a big bonus to work under these conditions.
Yeah, a buddy who was stationed there said "there was a woman behind every tree."
sparkie624 2
LOL... They will get Overtime.... That is about it...
matt jensen 6
Eareckson Air Station has a 10,000ft airstrip. It was originally fitted for B29's, B25's and later for large jets. Back when it was Shemya AFB, Northwest Airlines at its "layover" facility near the runway. They have five hardened buildings there. One is big enough.
Brad Littlejohn 7
Yeah.. it was either going to be PASY, or Cold Bay and its 10100ft runway, which was another 950nm. They made the right call for this one. The weather around the time of this incident was brutal:

PASY 250923Z AUTO 11023G27KT 7SM -PL FEW012 SCT025 OVC036 02/M01 A2973 RMK AO2 SLP071 FZRANO $

When you have gusts coming from the east, snow on the way but getting ice pellets dropped on you at nearly 32F, and you're outside having to fix an engine, you're in for a rough day at the office!
Torsten Hoff 0
I don't see them fitting a 767 into the hangars there.

(The picture is from a contractor who repaired storm damage)
Brad Littlejohn 5
They weren't ever going to, at least not fully. The closest airport with any hangars suitable for something like a B763, let alone any suitable lodging would be Cold Bay (PACD), but that's 950nm away.

But think about it this way. They either have already come up on, or are just starting the time where there is no sunlight at all in that part of the state. So to do this work, completely at night, with those winds, that cold, and ice pellets dropping on you.. That crew sure as hell deserves a week or two in the Cayman Islands or St. Maarten!
ken young 3
My brother was an ATC at Adak where he wrapped up his career in the Navy..I have asked him about the conditions there in winter......spring and fall.....And summer.
Essentially, the weather never changes. It rains a lot. Snows a bit, is foggy, is windy and is perpetually damp...
sparkie624 2
That will be one of the Coolest Job's they will ever have to do... I have had to change engines out side... No Fun... In that kind of weather... NO THANK YOU!
Highflyer1950 2
I’ll bet they cocoon the area surrounding the engine and light up the propane heaters that probably were loaded on the inbound replacement aircraft. Likely the mechanics were working in shortsleeves!
mikeenderle 1
"They said I'd get to see the world!" 😂
sharon bias 0
That's why they get the big bucks :)
James Simms 2
Back during WW2, aircraft would leave out on a Mission & never return; probably weather related. A KC-135 had crashed there attempting to land 13 Jan, 69: Rivet Ball, a Strategic Air Command Boeing RC-135S, 59-1491, arriving at Shemya AFB, AK after a reconnaissance operational sortie, is unable to stop due to poor weather and extremely slippery runway conditions. The aircraft slid off the ice-covered runway, plunged into a 40-foot ravine and broke apart. All eighteen occupants of the aircraft egressed successfully. Although the aircraft was written off as damaged beyond repair, some key components were salvaged for subsequent use.

And backstory on a disappearance later that year: ;
John Sukovich 5
Better than in the water. ETOPS = "Engines Turn Or People Swim."
stratofan 3
When I was stationed there in 1978-1979, we had two RC-135S aircraft there. Although hangars were not large enough for a wide-body, Shemya was designated as an emergency field when 767 and 777 airliners started flying that route. We could accept aircraft as large as a C-5 Galaxy, albeit a tight fit on taxiways. As a matter of fact, we had one land with a load of service members, and their families while I was there. The base C.O. had the dining hall open for lunch for all of them. We had a great time with all of them, and the whole base turned out to wish them farewell. Many of them told us they had not had as good a treatment since leaving Kadena AFB. A great memory for sure.
John Sukovich 1
Were you USAFSS? My 2T exile from Berlin was Peshawar. It was my reward for being top notch in my job and getting excellent AERS.
I find it very interesting that we have become a nation of second guessers on everything. Does this mean NO ONE really knows what they are doing. The pilot was CORRECT!
James Driskell 2
Actually the forced stop might have been fortuitous. Just a short hop for Santa, maybe his first that night!
tim mitchell 1
Maybe its just deja vu but didnt a plane land on a remote remote island last year as well?
Brad Littlejohn 3
Close. Two flights landed at PACD (Cold Bay) for different incidents.

DAL28 landed there from Tokyo-Portland (RJAA-KPDX) in 2017.

AAL288 also landed at PACD from its flight from Shanghai-Chicago (ZPSD-KORD) in 2016.
James Mering 1
Spent a year on "the Rock" 1966-7. About 1000 personnel on the island, all male. It was considered a hardship tour. Most of the island was covered with abandoned buildings and piles of rusting 55 gallon drums from the time during WWII when about 20000 people including families lived there.
Rex Bentley 0
Don't say "issue" when you mean "problem" kill PC
Kevin Haiduk 0
I didn't see any news on if the passengers deplaned and to where if so.
Brad Littlejohn 1
No where really for them to deplane. For all intents and purposes, PASY is a private field run by USAF, making it a military field.
Toure Malone -1
A Delta 767 had a mechanical problem?! How shocking! *Sarcastic voice*
Elliot Cannon -4
Not enough motors. Across the North Pacific on two engines? Profits over safety.
Brad Littlejohn 3
Seeing that one of the B777's maiden flights was YMML-RJAA-EGLL and took it over 3 oceans on two engines, it's safe to say that you don't have a clue of what you're talking about.
mikeenderle 1
So you're implying that 747s (with more accident history than the 767), A340s, A380s are the only planes worthy to fly over water? I don't follow.
cparks 0
“Though remote, this isn’t the first time aircraft have unexpectedly landed at Shemya during an emergency. In 1993, China Eastern flight 538 diverted to the island. The MD-11 made an emergency landing after a crew member accidentally deployed the plane’s slats while cruising at altitude. The resulting oscillations of the aircraft caused serious injuries to some passengers and crew, resulting in two deaths.”

I wonder if this was the genesis for the book by Michael Crichton titled “Airframe”?
Greg Sergienko 2
flight 538 is what the article says, but I think it was Flight 583. And, you're right, at least according to wikipedia, as to that flight's being the genesis for Airframe.


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