Emergency plan at Shannon but plane goes to London

Emergency plan at Shannon but plane goes to London


A British Airways Boeing 747-400 in a previous emergency at Shannon – © Pat Flynn 2014

Emergency services were out on standby at Shannon Airport on Saturday for a jet that declared a Mayday over the Atlantic.

British Airways flight BAW-209 was en route from London to Miami in Florida with 281 passengers and crew on board.

The Boeing 747-400 jet had left Heathrow Airport at 2.20pm and was almost three hours into its flight when the crew issued a Mayday distress call.

The pilot initially reported smoke in the cabin area but later told controllers that there was also smoke and fumes in the cockpit.

The crew had been in contact air traffic controllers at the Irish Aviations Authority’s North Atlantic Communications Service radio station at Ballygirreen in Co. Clare.

The pilot had declared his intention to divert and land at Shannon where the airports emergency plan was put into action. British Airways’ website also confirmed that the flight would be diverting to Shannon.

At around 5.30pm, units of the fire brigade from Shannon and Ennis, along with ambulances from Ennis and Limerick City, were sent to the airport over an hour ahead of the flights expected arrival.

Shortly after 6.30pm, services at Shannon were stood down and personnel told the plane was instead diverting to Dublin. The flight continued instead, overflying Ireland, and back to Heathrow Airport.

The jet landed safely in London but was grounded while engineers investigated the issue. Passengers were accommodated in hotels overnight.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.