Air NZ Flight Evacuated Over Deicing Fumes

An Air New Zealand flight preparing to leave Christchurch had to be evacuated this morning after many of its passengers were accidentally affected by deicing fumes.

Flight NZ504 to Auckland was due to depart at 6:50 a.m.. but it was not the early hour that left passengers bleary-eyed.

Fumes from a substance being used to deice the plane leaked into the cabin.

Passenger Ryan Mahalm said people's eyes quickly began to water and become itchy.

"There was a fair amount of runny mascara and a few people got sore noses and eyes," he said. "Nothing was visible, but the flight attendant said she could see many of us were uncomfortable so she was going to check on what was happening. We had to hop off the plane a short while later."

Mahalm said there were a few people who grumbled about the flight delay, but most were still in good spirits.

Passenger Stuart Reilly tweeted that he was not impressed: "Just been kicked off air nz flight chch to ack, thy sprayed plane with de icer which filled plane with fumes, awesome work NOT."

Air New Zealand spokeswoman Marie Hosking said medical personnel were asked to check passengers and the flight was rescheduled.

"Passengers were disembarked shortly after boarding an A320 jet at Christchurch Airport this morning after a strong smell was noticed in the cabin," she said. "The smell is believed to be related to the deicing process that was occurring due to the cold weather. Some passengers reported sore eyes and first aid treatment was offered."

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