A holiday flight was forced to turn around and divert to Shannon Airport yesterday soon after take-off after a passenger on board fell ill.
Aer Lingus flight EI-778 left Dublin at 3.00pm bound for the Spanish island of Lanzarote. There were 156 passengers and 6 crew on board.
About 20 minutes into the flight a male passenger complained of feeling unwell and was quickly tended to by cabin crew members.
The crew made contact with the Medilink, the airline’s medical advisors, and after discussing the passengers symptoms, it was decided that the best option was to divert to Shannon. It’s understood that the 53-year-old man had vomited blood.
The flight had reached it’s cruising altitude of 36,000 feet and was about 150 kilometres south of Cork when the crew declared a medical emergency.
The pilot requested emergency medical services to be on standby for their arrival.
As the aircraft would have to ‘land heavy’, airport fire crews were also placed on standby for the Airbus A320-200 when it touched down at around 4.10pm.
The crew stopped their jet on the runway so that fire personnel could check the aircraft’s undercarriage for any overheating from the emergency landing.
Soon afterwards the jet taxied to the terminal building where ambulance paramedics were standing by.
Paramedics and airport security personnel boarded the plane and quickly located the ill passenger. The man was assessed and stabilised on board before being removed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.
An Aer Lingus spokeswoman said: “A passenger became ill approximately 20 minutes into the flight. Having consulted with Medilink a decision was made to divert the aircraft to Shannon. The passenger disembarked and is receiving medical assistance.”
The flight was able to continue its journey once the passengers bags had been removed and the aircraft was refuelled.