In what can only be described as an onslaught of terror, a passenger aboard a flight destined for Queenstown recalled a harrowing ordeal where travelers were hurled airborne in their seats due to severe turbulence. Wails of terror echoed throughout the cabin in tandem with the cacophonous sound of airsickness.
The South Island, notorious for its potent weather patterns, was forewarned of unusually fierce winds reaching speeds of up to 150km/h. This latest atmospheric disturbance proved to be particularly disruptive, unsettling even the most seasoned travelers.
Among those onboard the ill-fated 8.30am Jetstar flight from Auckland to Queenstown was the 18-year-old, Dylan Steele. As the aircraft commenced its descent, Steele recollected how sudden chaos enveloped the cabin. The only view he had from his seat next to the wing was the unnerving sight of the aircraft’s wing quivering like a fragile feather caught in a tempest. Steele likened the horrendous turbulence to an adrenaline-laced rollercoaster ride, a memory he will not be forgetting anytime soon.
In a display of sincerity, a Jetstar spokesperson apologized to the affected passengers and emphasized that their primary concern was ensuring customer safety. Delays, they conceded, are regrettable but are a worthy trade-off for passenger well-being – a principle that governed their decision to instruct flights to retreat in the face of Queenstown’s formidable weather.
Maddening altitudinal fluctuations continued to rock the aircraft, catapulting Steele out of his seat. The uproarious sounds of fear and discomfort were audible even through his headphones. Fearing the worst, he began reflecting on life and death. Yet when the pilot announced a course reversal to Auckland, Steele felt a palpable wave of solace wash over him as they finally touched down safety.
With everyone visibly shaken, Steele was optimistic about securing another flight the following day, despite the confusion reverberating through the airport premises.
Meanwhile, MetService anticipated seismic gales to sweep across the South Island and lower North Island, coupled with sporadic heavy rain. Gusts of wind reaching speeds of 140km/h were predicted in the Canterbury High Country, posing a significant threat to trees, powerlines, unsecured structures, and making road commutes precarious.
An expected swerve to a strong, showery southwesterly pattern could compound the weather-related challenges. Potentially dangerous gusts of up to 130km/h have also been forecast for Southland and Otago, along with the possibility of snowfall reaching levels as low as 500 meters.
Particularly vulnerable to these changes are Queenstown and Dunedin, advancing concerns regarding the stability of trees, especially after recent flooding in Queenstown. As tonight’s wind and showers are expected to subside, Tuesday prognosticates a welcome change of a colder but calmer stream of weather.