A US-bound passenger jet was forced to make a u-turn over the Atlantic yesterday (Wednesday) after a passenger on board suffered a suspected heart attack.
Austrian Airlines flight OS-89 was en route from Vienna to Newark, New Jersey, and was about 45 minutes into it’s oceanic crossing having flown over Ireland at around midday.
The crew had been in contact wit the the Irish Aviation Authority’s (IAA) North Atlantic Communications Service centre at Ballygirreen in Co. Clare at the time.
While the Boeing 767-300 jet was about 1,000 kilometres north west of Shannon, the crew advised controllers that they had a male passenger on board who had suffered what they believed to be a heart attack.
Cabin crew members and passengers quickly tended to the ill man, believed to be in his 30’s, while arrangements were made by the flight crew to divert and seek medical attention.
The pilot advised controllers that they needed to turn around and divert to the nearest available airport. The crew also requested that emergency medical services be standing by for them on arrival.
The flight touched down at Shannon at 1.50pm and was met at the terminal by HSE National Ambulance Service paramedics and a doctor.
Medics quickly board the flight where they assessed the patient before he was removed to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) for treatment.
The flight continued it’s journey less than an hour after diverting once the passengers baggage had been removed in accordance with security procedures.
Shannon is a designated emergency diversionary airport for aircraft operating on North Atlantic routes and has dealt with severaldiversions this month already, mostly medical emergencies.
On November 9th, American Airlines flight AA-211 turned around over the Atlantic and diverted to Shannon after a man in his 60’s collapsed on board.
Just a few days earlier, a Delta Airlines flight made an emergency dash to Shannon after a young child suffered a choking episode over the Atlantic.
In August, another Delta Airlines jet diverted to Shannon when a woman went into labour less than an hour into the flight.