El Al Airlines flight LY26 from Newark to Tel Aviv was forced to make an emergency landing in Halifax, Canada, late on Thursday night.
The Boeing 777 was scheduled to depart Newark at 9:00PM Thursday night, and arrive in Israel at around 1:20PM on Friday, but the pilot declared a “Mayday” and requested a diversion to Halifax Stanfield after reports of smoke in the cockpit.
Spokesperson for the Halifax International Airport Authority, Tiffany Chase, said the pilot declared an emergency just after 11:00PM and landed safely.
According to Channel 12 news, it was decided that the plane required a full technical inspection, leaving passengers stranded in Halifax as the airline does not fly on Shabbos.
Passengers on the flight told YWN that the airline kept them for many hours on the plane and then in the airport until they were told that they would be accommodated and put up in a local hotel. They were given a minimum amount of food, and passengers said they were starving. The plane made the emergency landing at around and were first allowed to get off the plane at around 2:30AM. The group finally arrived at their hotel at around 6:30AM.
“El Al’s flight from New York (Newark) to Tel Aviv had to land in Halifax, Canada, due to the smell of smoke from the back kitchen area of the plane,” the airline said in a statement. “All passengers are being taken care of by company representatives and we apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers.”
YWN notes that El Al could’ve easily had the passengers flown back to Newark or Montreal for Shabbos, instead the entire flight is stuck in a hotel in Halifax.
Jews sprung into action from various location to help those stranded.
Thanks to Montreal Hatzolah, Kosher food for Shabbos was arranged and being flown by members of Montreal’s Jewish community. Photos provided to YWN on Friday morning show carloads of food being taken to the airport for the flight to Halifax. A volunteer was flying the food, and planned on staying in Halifax with the group for Shabbos.
Meanwhile, in New York, massive amounts of food were quickly put together by Gourmet Glatt of Cedarhurst and Chap-a-Nosh to be flown to Halifax.
Additionally, Chabad of Halifax is assisting in accommodating the passengers.