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At least five flights into and out of Christchurch have been cancelled or delayed so far this afternoon, while a passenger on a plane bound for Queenstown this morning said the aircraft turned around after encountering intense turbulence.
Jetstra Dylan, 18, was on a Jetstar flight from Auckland to Queenstown this morning at 8.30am and said passengers were screaming in terror as the plane shook violently about 20 minutes from Queenstown airport.
"Everyone on the plane was screaming."
"I was right next to the wing on the left side and the wing looked like it was going to break. It was shaking and it looked like it was about to snap off. Even the engines were shaking."
"The plane was going up and then dropping rapidly. I was airborne on my seat, it was just so wild."
"Everyone was just screaming and people were throwing up. I was about to throw up too."
Five departures and arrivals at Christchurch Airport have been cancelled or delayed and travellers are advised to check the airport website for updates.
Flights have been cancelled at Queenstown and Dunedin airports as the South Island braces for winds gusting up to 150kmh this afternoon and evening.
The Queenstown Airport website shows a series of cancelled flights to and from New Zealand's main centres this morning.
In a statement, Air New Zealand said its team was working hard to manage the evolving weather situation and get customers to where they need to be as soon as possible.
MetService has a number of severe weather warnings in place for the South Island and lower North Island today, with heavy rain, gale-force winds and even snow forecast.
Meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane said the main story today though will be the wind.
”In the South Island some places could see wind speeds in the region of 150 kph, that includes places like Queenstown where we know there’s been a lot of severe weather, as well as down towards Dunedin.
“Anywhere under a strong wind warning should be prepared.”
With Star News