Diverted Delta flight set to depart this evening

Diverted Delta flight set to depart this evening

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Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
The flight will continue its journey to Atlanta later today – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

A Delta flight that diverted and made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport yesterday will resume its journey this evening.

Delta flight DL-73 with almost 400 people on board had to dump thousands of litres of fuel before diverting to Shannon after the crew received a cargo hold fire indication.

The flight was travelling from Amsterdam to Atlanta in the U.S. when the crew declared an emergency over Co Leitrim.

At around 2.10pm the crew issued a Mayday distress call and advised air traffic controllers at Shannon that they had an alarm in the cockpit indicating a possible fire in a aft (rear) cargo hold.

The Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet was cleared to turn left commence its descent towards Shannon Airport where an emergency plan was being put in place.

The crew also advised controllers that they wished to dump fuel and confirmed that they had activated the fire extinguishing system in the cargo hold.

Airport crash crews were alerted while units of the fire brigade from both Shannon Town and Ennis were mobilised along with ambulances from Ennis and Limerick City.

The RNLI lifeboat station at Kilrush Co Clare and the Killaloe unit of the Irish Coast Guard were also requested to remain on standby until the flight had landed safely.

Airport and local authority emergency vehicles were deployed to taxiways adjacent to the main runway ready to pursue and surround aircraft once it landed.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015
Shannon Airport’s fire and rescue service was backed up by Shannon fire brigade – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

The flight landed safely at 2.48pm and came to a stop on the runway. Fire crews quickly surrounded the plane and once the aircraft’s four engines had been shut down crews used thermal imaging cameras to check for hotspots on the aircraft’s fuselage.

When no evidence of fire was found, the plane was towed to the terminal building where fire crews breathing apparatus were able to board the jet and undertake a closer inspection.

Shortly before 4.00pm, it was confirmed there was no evidence of a fire on board and emergency services were stood down.

Its understood that there were several dogs belonging to passengers in the cargo hold at the time however their fate was not known.

A spokeswoman for Delta said: “The flight crew of Delta flight 73 from Amsterdam to Atlanta elected to divert to Shannon, Ireland after receiving an indication light on the cargo hold. The flight landed without incident. The safety of Delta customers and crew members is always our top priority.”

The flight was cancelled later and the passengers taken to several hotels in the Clare and Limerick areas.

The jet will continue its journey today (Saturday) at 5.00pm as flight 9856.

The airline confirmed: “Our Customer Care team has been engaged and our teams are working to accommodate customers at hotels for the evening.”

Last Monday, an Aeromexico flight travelling from Mexico City to Paris diverted to Shannon after the crew received a fire indication in the cargo hold. Its believed a consignment of mangoes may have created enough heat to activate the sensors.

In 2014, there were three incidents where flights diverted to Shannon because fire scares on board.

In each case it was heat from organic materials in the cargo holds that activated onboard fire alarms while the aircraft involved in each case was a Boeing 747.

In an incident last December, the crew of an Air France Boeing 747 Jumbo issued a Mayday call after a consignment of vegetables activated the jets fire alarm and sprinkler systems.

Airport Fire and Rescue Service AFRS
Airport firefighters prepare to enter the cargo hold of an Air France jet last December – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

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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.

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