A transatlantic flight diverted to Shannon Airport this afternoon after declaring a medical emergency over the Irish Sea.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight KLM-171 was travelling from Amsterdam in The Netherlands to Willemstad on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. There were 273 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777-300(ER) jet.
The flight was north of Wales and about to route through Irish air space when the flight crew contacted air traffic controllers in Shannon to advise them they might need to divert to the Midwest airport.
The flight crew reported they had a male passenger on board who had fallen ill. It’s understood there was a doctor on board the flight who rendered assistance while the crew was also in contact with the airline’s own medical professionals to seek further advice.
After a diagnosis of the passenger’s condition was made, it was decided that the flight should divert to another airport and seek medical assistance. The flight crew later declared a medical emergency and confirmed they would need to divert to Shannon.
At Shannon, the airport’s fire and rescue service was placed on standby ahead of the flight’s arrival after the crew confirmed they would be making an overweight landing. This is standard procedure for aircraft making overweight landings when there’s a risk of the aircraft’s braking system overheating after touchdown.
The National Ambulance Service was also alerted and requested to mobilise resources to the airport.
The flight landed at 2.43pm and was met by airport fire crews who accompanied the jet to the terminal where ambulance paramedics were waiting. It’s understood that the passenger was assessed at the airport before being removed to University Hospital Limerick for further treatment.
The flight resumed its journey shortly after 6.00pm.
Today’s incident was the third this year involving KLM flights making medical diversions to Shannon. In January, KLM flight 714 made an emergency landing after a passenger was reported to have fallen seriously ill. The man was pronounced dead shortly after the flight landed.