A US-bound jet has made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport to seek urgent medical attention for a passenger.
In the second emergency diversion in just three days, an Austrian Airlines flight from Vienna to Chicago made the unscheduled landing at Shannon this afternoon. There were 307 passengers and a crew of 14 on board.
Flight OS-65 was about four hours into its journey when the crew alerted air traffic controllers to their situation. The crew confirmed they needed to turn around and divert to the nearest suitable airport.
The Boeing 777-200 jet was about 90 minutes north west of Shannon when the crew made a U-turn. Once back in Irish airspace, the crew made contact with controllers at the Irish Aviation Authority’s North Atlantic Communications Centre at Ballygirreen in Co Clare. Staff there coordinated the flights diversion to Shannon.
The National Ambulance Service was contacted and requested to mobilise emergency medical services to the airport ahead of the plane’s arrival.
Before reaching the Irish west coast, the flight crew requested clearance to dump aviation fuel to ensure they touched down within safe landing weight limits. The crew carried out the jettison procedure for about 10 minutes over the Atlantic.
As a result, the airport’s fire and rescue service was requested to stand by for the flight when it landed safely at 4.05. Emergency vehicles remained with the aircraft until it reached the terminal. An inspection of the runway was carried out before the next aircraft was allowed to land. This was to ensure that there was no contamination of the runway as a result of the fuel dumping.
Ambulance paramedics boarded the aircraft and assessed the passenger before they were removed to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.
The jet later returned to Vienna rather than continue to the US.
An airline spokeswoman said: “Flight OS65 from Vienna to Chicago was diverted to Shannon Airport due to medical problems of a passenger. The aircraft had to return to Vienna because of crew duty time limitations required by law. Passengers were rebooked via Vienna.
On Saturday, a United Airlines flight from the UK to the US was also forced to turn around over the Atlantic, dump fuel and divert to Shannon an ill passenger. Flight UA-879 was traveling from London to Houston in Texas at the time.