A British Airways flight with hundreds of passengers aboard had to make an emergency dash to Ireland after the aircraft’s cabin crew reported fumes in the cockpit and cabin.
Flight crew had to don oxygen masks to prevent them from being overcome by the fumes as the plane made a U-turn over the Atlantic.
Flight BA-2201’s crew told air traffic control a number of people had been affected by the fumes, forcing the plane to abandon its journey from Gatwick Airport to Cancun.
The pilots were forced to dump several tonnes of fuel along the way as they prepared the craft for an emergency landing at Shannon Airport this afternoon.
The Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick was placed on standby, and paramedics were waiting at the airport as the flight touched down safely in Shannon at 3.18pm today.
It was pursued along the runway by airport fire and rescue crews who also accompanied the jet,which had a crew of 13, to the terminal.
Five ambulances, two advanced paramedic rapid response vehicles and an ambulance officer were there waiting when the flight touched down.
Authorities implemented emergency procedures ahead of the flight’s arrival – alerting the HSE, National Ambulance Service and An Garda Síochána.
Eight people understood to have been affected by the fumes were assessed by paramedics.
None of the 237 passengers aboard were affected.
While it’s understood that a number of flight attendants were assessed, it wasn’t clear whether any passengers were. No one required hospitalisation.
After it was confirmed their flight had been cancelled, the passengers were transported by bus to hotels in Shannon, Limerick and Dromoland.
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It’s expected that a replacement aircraft will be flown to Shannon tomorrow to take the passengers onto their destination.
In the meantime, engineers began working to establish the source of the fumes.
A British Airways spokesman confirmed: “We’re very sorry for the delay to our customers’ journeys. We have provided them with accommodation following their diversion into Shannon due to a minor technical issue.
The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we would never operate a flight unless it was safe to do so.”