Airport on standby for jet emergency

Airport on standby for jet emergency


Fire Brigade Vehicles
Shannon fire service had just mobilised when they were stood down – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

Emergency services were placed on standby at Shannon Airport on Saturday for a passenger that jet declared an emergency over the Atlantic.

United Airlines flight UA-43 was en route from Rome to Washington and was about 500 kilometres off the Mayo coast when the crew declared an emergency and turned around.

The pilot had been in contact with the Irish air traffic controllers at the time and advised them of their situation and their intention to divert to Shannon.

An emergency plan was put into action at Shannon with local authority fire service crews and ambulances from several stations being alerted.

The Boeing 767-400 jet was cleared to descend from 34,000 feet to 22,000 feet after the crew confirmed they had a pressurisation issue in the passenger cabin.

The crew had also been in contact with with the airline’s operations centre and by the time they had reached a level of 22,000 feet, its understood they had resolved the issue.

Its now believed the crew was instructed by their operations centre to divert to London Heathrow instead of Shannon.

While emergency services were being scrambled at Shannon the pilot informed controllers that they wished to continue onto London’s Heathrow airport instead.

The emergency was stood down and the flight continued to London for a safe landing an hour later.

Fire crews from Shannon Town and Ennis along with emergency ambulances had been mobilised to the airport before they returned to their bases.

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.