Plane makes emergency landing at Shannon
A passenger plane with more than 200 people on board made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport this morning.
The US Airways flight from Philadelphia to Dublin was diverted after the captain reported a fire on board.
It is understood the fire may have started somewhere in the plane's electrical system.
There were 197 passengers and 10 crew on board.
The plane landed safely just before 11am and an investigation into the cause of the fire is under way.
US Air Emergency Landing
"It is understood the fire may have started somewhere in the plane's electrical system. "
CD, That certainly is interesting. Maybe there will be some kind of follow-up on this. I think it will be worth watching for. Thanks.
Passengers tell of fire alert on flight from US
Pilot said he was "taking plane down to 10,000 feet so he could open cockpit windows".
Passengers on board a transatlantic jet that was forced to make an emergency landing at Shannon Airport yesterday told how they feared the plane was going to have to ditch into the sea.
Fire crews on the ground at Shannon were told to "expect the worst", while Coastguard units and vessels off the west coast were on standby for more than an hour as the packed jet limped into Shannon with a fire in its cargo hold.
Two international airports were placed on full-alert as US Airways flight 306 from Philadelphia to Dublin declared an emergency 400 miles west of Shannon. There were 190 passengers and a crew of 10 on board.
The drama began at 9 a.m. when the pilot notified Air Traffic Control at Shannon that there was a fire on board the aircraft.
The airline confirmed last night that a fire had broken out in a cooling fan in the aircraft's heating system.
Passengers told how one stewardess "lost it completely" and said four times that "this isn't good".
Others told how the pilot announced that he was "taking the plane down to 10,000 feet so that he could open cockpit windows to let the smoke out".
Mrs Tracy Brennan, from Indiana in the US, spoke of how she was convinced the plane was going to have to ditch in the Atlantic.
"I had my eight-month-old daughter Grace on my knee and I was very frightened. I was very much afraid that we were going to have to make a water landing," she said.
Mrs Brennan's husband, Matt, who was coming to Ireland to attend a conference, said he was "praying to God that he would take me and not my daughter".
"I remember being woken up by the head steward and he told me there was a fire up front and that it wasn't good.
"He told us to clear everything from the floor in front of us, so I figured that they were thinking of flotation devices so we had to store everything up above real quick," Mr Brennan recalled.
The pilot asked all military personnel and all emergency services or firefighting people to come forward and to line up by the emergency exits.
One passenger, Mr Rob Rush, said he was asleep when he was awakened by cabin crew and told of the fire.
"I have firefighting and paramedic training, so I made myself known to the crew and was asked to go to the front of the plane.
The plane was about 15 to 20 minutes from Shannon when passengers at the rear of the aircraft were notified of the emergency.
However, passengers in first- class, at the front of the aircraft, knew from the start because they could see the smoke and smell it.
The original plane that the passengers had been due to travel on was taken out of service because of a mechanical fault.
Bad weather had also delayed the departure of the flight from Philadelphia.
Emergency services from two counties rushed to Shannon to assist the airport's own fire and rescue service.
Six units of the local authority fire service from Ennis and Shannon along with ambulances from Ennis and Limerick city were on standby at strategic locations on the airfield as the jet touched down at 10.59 a.m.
The aircraft came to a stop seconds later in the middle of the airport's main runway as fire crews went alongside.
Fire personnel could be seen carrying out an external inspection of the plane as passengers waited anxiously on board.
Coastguard units and vessels at sea were also on alert in an operation co-ordinated by Shannon Coastguard Radio.
Fire crews from Ennis and Shannon were stood down 25 minutes after the plane landed.
Passengers were taken to Dublin in a fleet of buses.
An Aer Rianta spokesperson said yesterday that it was the most serious incident at Shannon in almost three years.
On November 30th, 2000, eight people were injured as they were being evacuated from a Futura flight after its nose-gear collapsed on landing.
ï¿½ The Irish Times
Thanks for that follow-up CD, this is truly chilling...
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