A transatlantic jet diverted to Shannon Airport this afternoon after the crew declared a medical emergency.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight 129 was travelling from Amsterdam in The Netherlands to the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao at the time.
The Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet was about 220 kilometres south of Waterford and around 320 kilometres from Shannon Airport when the crew declared a medical emergency at around 12.30pm today.
The flight was cleared to turn and begin routing towards Shannon before then being rerouted away from the Irish coast again for a time while the flight crew dumped aviation fuel over the ocean.
Fuel dumping is often carried out by suitably equipped aircraft to ensure they touch down within safe landing weight limits. The procedure was carried out at altitude (36,000ft) allowing the fuel to dissipate before reaching the surface. Once the crew had completed fuel jettison procedures the flight was then cleared to track over land towards Shannon.
On the ground at the airport, fire and rescue crews were mobilised to designated holding points adjacent to the runway in advance of the aircraft’s arrival. This is a precautionary measure after an aircraft has dumped fuel before landing at Shannon.
The flight landed at 1.12pm and taxied directly to the terminal building where it was met by airport authorities, ground handling crews and National Ambulance Service paramedics. The passenger was removed to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.
Airport fire crews remained with the aircraft for a time and used a thermal imaging camera to check the jet’s undercarriage to ensure there was no overheating during the emergency landing.
The flight was able to continue to its destination after the aircraft was refuelled and the crew received a new flight plan.