Air France jet declares emergency

Air France jet declares emergency


Airport emergency services standing by as Air France flight 733 lands at Shannon this morning – © Pat Flynn 2014

A transatlantic jet has made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport after the crew reported a possible fire on board.

Air France flight AF-733 was enroute from the Dominican Republic to Paris at the time. There were 156 passengers and crew on board.

The Boeing 747-400 jet was about an hour south west of Shannon when the crew declared a mayday emergency and requested to divert to Shannon.

Airport emergency services, backed up by local authority fire crews and HSE ambulances from Shannon, Ennis and Limerick, were standing by for the flight when it landed shortly before 10am.

The passengers had to be disembarked by portable stairs before fire crews could enter and check the cargo hold.

No fire was found while the jet’s built-in fire extinguishers had activated in the hold. No one was injured during the incident.

It’s now believed that heat from a cargo of vegetables activated the jet’s sensitive fire system.

The RNLI lifeboat at Kilrush along with the Shannon based Irish Coast Guard helicopter were also on standby during the emergency.

Passengers are being cared for in the terminal while arrangements are being made to get them to Paris.

It’s not clear whether the jet will continue the journey or if another aircraft will be flown in.

It’s the third time this year that a flight diverted to Shannon with a fire alarm caused by organic material.

Most recently, in September, a cargo jet carrying a consignment of flowers made an emergency landing at Shannon after the crew reported a possible fire on board.

The Atlas Air Boeing 747-400 freighter was en route from Florida to the Netherlands at the time. It’s believed the heat from the flowers activated the jet’s fire system.

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.