American Airlines flight lands safely in Calgary after medical issue

American Airlines flight lands safely in Calgary after medical issue
American Airlines flight diverted to Calgary after medical emergency, mechanical issue
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.

The flight then changed its destination and diverted to Calgary for a longer runway and stopped dumping fuel. (It has since resumed dumping fuel again before its new landing.) The original diversion to Edmonton was due to a medical emergency. Calgary is a better choice for an emergency landing due to having a significantly longer runway. Calgary has a 14,000-foot runway while Edmonton has a nearly 11,000-foot runway, reported Podolec. Flights from YEG to Calgary typically take about an hour.

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.

American Airlines flight safely lands after medical and mechanical issues force diversion from China

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.

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 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..

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.

There was a medical situation that arose, passenger Timothy Zhang told CTV Calgary after clearing customs at th Calgary International Airport. The captain asked if there were any medical personnel on board to assist and volunteer. There were a couple of doctors and nurses who went and talked with this elderly lady. She was experiencing chest pain and had difficulty breathing. They got her on some oxygen and got her legs elevated and, based on their recommendation, the captain decided to divert the plane.

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.

Upon getting close to Edmonton, we were told we were circling and, from what I later on gathered, the plane had mechanical difficulties, an issue with the flaps, so the plane couldnt slowdown on the runway at Edmonton.

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 rescheduled flight is expected to depart Calgary at 7:00 a.m. Friday and arrive in Beijing at 8:00 a.m. Saturday.

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.

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

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. 

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

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

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

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

The mechanical issue indication came after the crew diverted for an ill passenger, American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said.

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.

The AA plane that declared a mayday in #yyc has landed safely. Still being inspected by emergency services. pic.twitter.com/khCPdEzCwx

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.

Crew members originally said theyd be landing in Edmonton, but switched to Calgary for a longer runway, passenger Gurmeet Singh said.

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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.