Flight diverts to Shannon with sick passenger

Flight diverts to Shannon with sick passenger


A Norwegian Air Shuttle flight in a previous diversion – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

A transatlantic flight diverted to Shannon Airport this morning after a passenger was reported to have fallen ill.

Norwegian Air Shuttle flight NAX7109 was travelling from Barcelona in Spain to Los Angeles in the US. The flight was about 150kms west of Belmullet in Co Mayo when the crew turned around.

At the time, the crew had been in contact with controllers at the Irish Aviation Authority’s North Atlantic Communications Centre in Co Clare. They told controllers that they wanted to enter a holding pattern while they dealt with a medical issue.

The Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner circled over the ocean for a short time before deciding to divert to Shannon Airport. The crew had also been in contact with medical professionals in a dedicated centre who advised them to divert.

As a precaution, Shannon Airport’s fire and rescue crews were standing by for the flight which landed safely at 8.02am. The aircraft was also met at the terminal by airport authorities and National Ambulance Service paramedics. The patient, understood to be a man in his 20’s was transported to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.

The flight was able to continue its journey again at 10.23am once the passenger’s baggage had been removed, in accordance with strict security procedures, and the crew received a new flight plan.

Shannon Airport continues to handle the most unscheduled landings and diversions of any Irish airport. In 2017, of the 113 unscheduled landings, 24 medical emergencies.

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.