A US-bound passenger jet made a u-turn over the Atlantic yesterday and diverted to Shannon Airport after a passenger on board fell unconscious.
American Airlines flight AA-211 had just commenced its oceanic crossing and was about 100 kilometres off the Mayo coast when the crew opted to turn around.
The Boeing 757-200 jet had only departed Manchester at 10.30am and was en route to New York’s JFK International Airport.
The crew had been in contact withe the Irish Aviation Authority’s North Atlantic Communications Service centre at Ballygirreen in Co. Clare at the time.
At around 11.20am, just 50 minutes into the flight, the pilot advised controllers that they had a passenger in his 60’s who had collapsed in his seat and was unconscious.
Cabin crew members quickly went to assist the passenger and informed the flight crew of the issue. The crew decided not to continue across the Atlantic and decided instead to diverted to the nearest suitable airport.
The pilot confirmed they he wished to divert to Shannon and requested the emergency medical services be available for their arrival.
The flight turned around and routed directly to Shannon where crash crews had been alerted and placed on standby at the airport fire station.
The jet touched down safely at 11.55am and taxied to the terminal building where HSE National Ambulance Service (NAS) ambulance paramedics were standing by.
Paramedics and airport police personnel boarded the aircraft to locate the passenger. The man was assessed and stabilised on board before being removed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.
The flight continued it’s journey at 2.15pm once the passengers baggage had been removed in accordance with security procedures.