American Airlines flight diverted to Calgary after medical emergency, mechanical issue

American Airlines flight diverted to Calgary after medical emergency, mechanical issue
American Airlines Dreamliner expected to make emergency landing in Calgary
An American Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on the runway at Calgary International Airport after making an emergency landing on flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Beijing

A flight from Dallas to Beijing was detoured to Alberta Thursday afternoon following a medical emergency and a mechanical issue.

Flight AA263 departed Dallas-Fort Worth late Thursday morning and was scheduled to arrive in Beijing  Friday afternoon. The Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner was diverted to Edmonton International Airport due to an undisclosed medical concern involving a passenger but rerouted to Calgary International Airport due to its longer runway.

American Airlines Flight AA263 declared a medical emergency in flight from Dallas to Beijing, and diverted to Edmonton as a result. But now due to issues with plane flaps, the flight has diverted to Calgary for a longer runway and has dumped fuel along the way to lighten the plane before its landing. It was a tense flight, but thanks to a calm pilot, crew, and flight control, the plane landed safely. Read on for play-by-play chronological details of what happened during the flight.

American Airlines officials confirm to CTV Calgary that the original diversion was in relation to an ill passenger but a subsequent mechanical issue prompted the decision to land in Calgary. The aircraft was fuelled to land in China and efforts were made to reduce the landing weight of the Dreamliner.

But shortly after, the flight then declared mechanical issues involving the flaps upon approach and canceled the Edmonton approach. On radio with flight control, they requested emergency crews as a precaution and began running checklists on the problem, reported Tom Podolec, a senior journalist for CTV News and an aviation photographer.

The aircraft traced a path north through Manitoba before veering southwest through northern Saskatchewan and entering Alberta just east of Fort McMurray. The flight continued towards Edmonton before circling the provincial capital and heading south. The Dreamliner looped back north around Drumheller before making its final approach to Calgary over Airdrie.

American Airlines confirmed with CTV News that the flight was detoured because of both a medical emergency and then later due to a mechanical issue. Because it had enough fuel for a trip to China, they needed to reduce the landing weight of the plane before the emergency landing.

The aircraft landed at Calgary International Airport shortly before 5:00 p.m.. Emergency crews were deployed to the airport ahead of the landing on 17 Left runway..

The flight originally declared a medical emergency and diverted from its Beijing destination to Edmonton due to issues that a passenger was having. More details about the medical emergency are not known at this time, but some reports indicated the issue was cardiac arrest.

BREAKING: An American Airlines flight heading from Dallas to Beijing that had to make an emergency landing in Calgary due to a mechanical issue appears to have landed without incident. Emergency crews are on scene and ready to approach plane. #yyc @CTVCalgary pic.twitter.com/slqWzw93At

The latest update is that the flight is still on the way to Calgary after reporting possible flaps/slats failure, which were reported after the cardiac medical emergency that created the original need to divert the flight.

American Airlines officials say the passengers will be placed in hotels for the night. A second aircraft will be sent to Calgary Thursday evening and will transport the passengers to Beijing on Friday.

The more than 200 passengers on the plane, their family and friends, and all the people who followed the plane on social media are thankful to everyone who helped the plane land safely.

The flight path of American Airlines flight AA263 during the effort to burn fuel ahead of the Dreamliners emergency landing in Calgary (image: Flightradar24)

You can see the flight’s current path on FlightAware here. They are now scheduled to land in Calgary at 5:03 p.m. MDT. You can also track the flight live on FlightRadar24. 

Dave Sutherland photographed the American Airlines Dreamliner on Thursday afternoon as it passed downtown Edmonton (image courtesy: @Daveography)

Viewers who were following the flight were concerned when Flight Radar seemed to show the plane in the woods, but this was inaccurate. The plane landed safely.

A flight from Dallas to Beijing was detoured to Alberta Thursday afternoon following a medical emergency and a mechanical issue.

An American Airlines flight lands at YYC Calgary International Airport on Thursday, Oct. 11 after being diverted while on its way to China.

The flight began dumping fuel to help with the landing, to reduce the landing weight as they prepared for an emergency landing in YEG.

An American Airlines flight was diverted to Calgary on Wednesday after a passenger fell ill on board.

According to an airline spokesperson, flight AA263 was expected the flight would be “landing heavy” as it was carrying enough fuel to make it to China.

Kudos to the pilot, crew, and flight control for assisting in a safe landing during what was a very tense flight.

The plane, which took off from Dallas, also had a mechanical issue with one of the flaps, which are meant to reduce speed on landing.

READ MORE: British Airways passengers arrive in Calgary after being stranded in Iqaluit due to fumes event

The flight was originally diverted to Edmonton, but because of landing concerns, the flight path was changed a second time to land in Calgary as YYC Calgary International Airport has a longer runway.

American Airlines said the passengers will stay overnight in Calgary and be put up in hotels, and re-depart for China on Friday.