A US military transport plane made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport yesterday after the crew reported they had suffered a fuel leak over the Atlantic.
The United States Navy C130H Hercules, with the nickname ‘Shenanigans’ printed on the fuselage, was is a regular visitor to Shannon and is last known to have visited the airport in March and as recently as Tuesday of this week.
The flight was about 300 kilometres west of Ireland over the Atlantic when the crew declared an emergency and requested permission to land at Shannon.
The airport’s emergency plan was put into action with the local authority fire brigade from Shannon Town and Ennis along with the HSE ambulance service being alerted also.
Three units of the fire service from Shannon were sent to the airport while two further vehicles from Ennis were mobilised to a designated holding point close to the M18 motorway at Dromoland.
When asked by controllers, the crew confirmed they had no hazardous material on board their aircraft.
The plane was on it’s way back to the US when it turned around over the Atlantic and routed back to Shannon.
Airport and local authority fire crews took up positions along the runway at Shannon ahead of the aircraft’s arrival.
The flight touched down safely at 4.53pm and was quickly pursued along the runway by crash crews who remained with the aircraft until after it had parked on a remote taxiway.
The crew confirmed after landing that everything appeared normal and that the fuel leak had stopped.
After landing, an inspection of the runway was carried out to ensure that no fuel had leaked on to the surface. No trace of aviation fuel was found on the runway.
Engineers were waiting to inspect the aircraft and investigate the problem. It wasn’t clear last night how long the plane would be grounded at Shannon but it’s understood that the crew were accommodated in a local hotel last night.
On March 28th, another US Navy C130 Hercules was forced to return to Shannon after suffering engine problems over the Atlantic. The same plane had arrived in Shannon earlier in the week after suffering a technical issue while en route to the US.
After work was carried out on the aircraft, it departed Shannon and was headed to Bangor in the US when the crew received an alert in the cockpit indicating an issue with the number 4 engine.
The crew shut down the engine as a precaution and returned to Shannon and have the matter investigated. The aircraft spent a week in Shannon before the issues were finally resolved and it could return to the US.