A flight from the UK to the US diverted to Shannon Airport this afternoon after a passenger was reported to have fallen ill.
American Airlines flight AA-731 was travelling from London’s Heathrow airport to Charlotte in North Carolina at the time. There were 284 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777-200(ER) jet.
The flight was about 250 kilometres off the south west coast of Ireland and 400 from Shannon when the crew declared a medical emergency and confirmed they wished to divert to Shannon Airport.
At around 11.30am, the crew contacted air traffic controllers here and informed them they had a male passenger on board who required medical attention. The flight crew also confirmed there was a doctor on board who was caring for the passenger.
One the ground in Shannon, the National Ambulance Service was alerted and requested to dispatch resources to the airport. An ambulance and rapid response advanced paramedic team responded to the airport.
The flight crew told crew controllers they would be making an overweight landing so the airport’s fire and rescue service was alerted and mobilised to meet the aircraft in line with procedures for such landings.
The flight landed at 12.01 and was met by airport fire and rescue crews who accompanied the aircraft to the terminal. Fire crews checked to ensure that the jet’s braking system hadn’t overheated during the emergency landing.
Airport staff and ambulance paramedics were also waiting at the terminal for the aircraft. Paramedics boarded the airplane and assessed the patient before he was removed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.
Of the estimated 40 unscheduled landings at the Shannon Airport in the first six months of the year, 14 were medical emergencies including one where a passenger died on board a flight.
The flight resumed its journey to the US shortly before 3.00pm.