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.