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File photo: Thomson Airways plane Wikimedia Commons

British plane entering Sharm el-Sheikh 'missed rocket by 300m' just weeks ago

The near-miss happened around two months before the recent downing of a Russian plane in the Sinai Peninsula.

A BRITISH TOURIST plane heading in to land at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh came within 1,000 feet (300 metres) of a missile in August, according to new reports.

The near-miss involved a Thomson Airways plane carrying 189 passengers from London on 23 August. British authorities concluded it was not a “targeted attack”.

The incident happened around two months before a Russian tourist plane leaving the Red Sea resort plummeted from the sky into the Sinai Peninsula last Saturday, killing all 224 people onboard.

A spokesperson for Britain’s Department for Transport (DfT) said of the August near-miss: “We investigated the reported incident at the time and concluded that it was not a targeted attack and was likely to be connected to routine exercises being conducted by the Egyptian military in the area at the time.”

The Daily Mail newspaper said the Thomson Airways pilot took evasive action and landed safely. Holidaymakers were not told about the incident.

“The pilot was in the cockpit and saw the rocket coming towards the plane. He ordered the flight turn to the left to avoid the rocket, which was about 1,000 feet away,” the tabloid quoted a source as saying.

Another Thomson plane was also flying into (Sharm el-Sheikh) at the same time and saw the rocket.
The crew were told the rocket was from an Egyptian military exercise, but with what has happened there is a lot of fear. The incident left staff petrified.


A Thomson spokesman said: “Thomson Airways can confirm that an event was reported by the crew of flight TOM 476 on August 23.

Upon landing into Sharm el-Sheikh, an initial assessment was conducted and the event was immediately reported to the UK DfT in line with established protocol.
The DfT conducted a full investigation in conjunction with other UK government experts.
After reviewing the details of the case, the investigation concluded that there was no cause for concern and it was safe to continue our flying programme to Sharm-el Sheikh.

Meanwhile, sources close to the investigation into last week’s accident have said that black boxes from the Russian plane point to a bomb attack.

The flight data and voice recorders showed “everything was normal” until both failed at 24 minutes after takeoff, pointing to “a very sudden explosive decompression”, one source said.

© – AFP 2015

Read: At least 179 Irish people in Egypt as world leaders say bomb may have brought down plane

Read: Who? How? Why? Figuring out the Russian plane crash

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