Medical emergency forces jet diversion

Medical emergency forces jet diversion


Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
The United Airlines flight divert to Shannon with a seriously ill passenger – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

A transatlantic jet was forced to make an emergency landing at Shannon Airport this morning after a passenger on board suffered a heart attack.

United Airlines flight UA-972 was en route from Chicago in the U.S. to Brussels, Belgium when the crew declared an emergency and requested permission to divert to Shannon.

At around 6.40am, while the Boeing 777-200 was still over the Atlantic and about 500 kilometres north west of Shannon, the crew confirmed they had a female passenger in the forward cabin whom they suspected was in cardiac arrest.

The flight was cleared to change course and route towards Shannon while the crew requested emergency medical services to be standing by.

A HSE ambulance and rapid response advanced paramedic unit along with a local doctor were waiting for the flight when it landed shortly after 7.30am.

The woman was rushed to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.

The flight was able to continue it’s journey to Brussels once a new flight plan had been filed and the ill passenger’s baggage had been located and removed in accordance with security procedures.

It was the airport’s second medical emergency in recent days and third diversion in a fortnight.


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.