Jet diverts to Shannon with choking child

Jet diverts to Shannon with choking child


Delta Airlines Shannon - © Pat Flynn 2014
Delta Airlines flight DL-70 diverted to Shannon where it landed at 3.23am – (File Image – © Pat Flynn 2014)

A passenger jet made an emergency dash to Shannon Airport early yesterday after a young child suffered a choking episode over the Atlantic.

The crew of Delta Airlines flight DL-70 reported that a 9-year-old girl, thought to be Swedish, was having difficulty breathing and that they believed her airway had become blocked.

At the time, the Boeing 767-400 jet, which has capacity for 246 passengers, was about 45 minutes west of Shannon en route from Atlanta in the US to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

At around 2.30am, the crew raised the alarm by contacting air traffic controllers at the Irish Aviation Authority’s (IAA) North Atlantic Communications Service radio centre at Ballygirreen in Co. Clare.

The crew sought permission to divert to Shannon and requested that emergency medical services be standing by for their arrival.

The flight was granted permission for a priority high-speed approach to the airport where it touched down at 3.23am.

Airport fire service first responders were standing by to meet the aircraft and administered first-aid to the child until a HSE ambulance arrived.

The child was assessed and stablised on board the aircraft before being removed to University Hospital Limerick for treatment. It’s understood that at least one adult accompanied the child to the hospital.

There were no details available on her condition as the HSE no longer provides such information to the media.

In accordance with security procedures, the flight couldn’t continue it’s journey until the deplaned passengers’ baggage was removed from the aircraft.

After the luggage was located and the aircraft had refuelled, the flight continued onto Amsterdam at 5.20am, almost two hours after first diverting.

A Delta Airlines spokeswoman said: “Delta Air Lines flight DL-70 from Atlanta to Amsterdam made an unscheduled landing in Shannon for medical attention for a passenger. 

Medical professionals met the aircraft to transport the passenger to hospital. The flight then continued to Amsterdam. The safety and security of Delta’s passengers and crew is Delta’s number one priority,” the airline added.

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.