Cessna guided to safety

A commercial airliner over Greenland guided a disabled Cessna to safety this week.

The Air Greenland de Havilland Dash 8-200 rerouted to help the small, private aircraft on Monday after the pilot declared an emergency in snowy conditions with limited visibility.

The Dash 8 was en route from Nuuk to Narsarsuaq with 27 passengers and crew when the emergency call came in. The twin-engine Cessna was flying from Goose Bay, Nfld., to Narsarsuaq with four people on board when it began losing oil and had to shut down an engine about 45 minutes prior to its planned arrival. 

The Joint Arctic Commands scrambled a helicopter and Hercules aircraft to vicinity, and, due to the weather conditions, the Dash 8 entered a holding pattern.

Then, the Cessna reported its navigation equipment had failed, too, and had no sight of the ground due to the weather.

The Dash 8 advised it was not prudent to continue to Narsarsuaq and diverted to guide the Cessna to Paamiut, about 130 miles away.

Passengers were kept abreast of the rescue as the commercial pilot found the Cessna and accompanied it to a safe landing about 90 minutes later. The Dash landed in Paamiut as well, refueled, and headed back to Nuuk. 

The Joint Arctic Command gave the crew a "Well Done" on Facebook for their selfless action.

The Dash 8 captain told a local newspaper that it was clear the Cessna was in serious trouble, and, whether it had navigation problems or not, it would not have been able to land in Narsasuaq.

The captain located the Cessna on his TCAS screen, descended to 9,000 feet and, after establishing visual contact slowed to match its speed while following from 3,000 feet above and guiding the Cessna pilot to safety.

En route, another problem developed with one of the Cessna's VHF radios, and the Dash 8 had to relay information from the airport tower.

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