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Two separate transatlantic flights made emergency stops in Ireland today

One of the planes had engine problems over the Atlantic, while the other had a sick passenger on board

Image: Shutterstock/Who is Danny

A US-BOUND PASSENGER jet has made an emergency landing at Dublin Airport after the crew reported engine problems over the Atlantic southwest of Ireland.

Brussels Airlines flight SN-501 was travelling from Brussels, Belgium, to New York in the US at the time. There were 154 passengers and a crew of 10 on board.

The flight was about 130 kilometres off the south coast of Ireland at around 12.10pm when the crew declared an emergency and informed air traffic controllers of their situation. The crew reported a problem with one of the jet’s two engines.

The pilot issued a Pan-pan radio message indicating they had an issue on board. A Pan-pan call is less serious than a May-day and indicates there is an urgent situation but that there’s no immediate threat to life or the aircraft.

It’s not clear whether the jet’s engine failed or the crew had to shut it down as a result of an issue.

The crew of the Airbus A330-300 jet had originally opted to divert to Shannon Airport where emergency procedures were promptly implemented. Airport fire crews were deployed to designated holding points adjacent to the runway in advance of the jet’s expected arrival.

The flight had been cleared to divert to Shannon Airport however, at around 12.30pm, the crew advised air traffic controllers at Shannon that they wished to continue and divert to Dublin instead. It’s understood the flight decided to divert to Dublin to allow them time to burn off additional fuel to ensure they touched down within safe landing weight limits.

The flight continued towards Dublin and entered a holding pattern for a short time over the midlands before continuing to Dublin Airport. In the meantime, emergency services at Dublin Airport were placed on standby ahead of the jet’s arrival.

The aircraft landed safely at 1.15pm and was followed to the terminal by airport fire and rescue crews. Engineers are investigating the source of the problem.

Sick passenger

Meanwhile, another transatlantic jet has been forced to turn around over the Atlantic and divert to Shannon Airport after the crew reported they had an ill passenger on board. 

Air Canada flight AC-897 was travelling from Athens, Greece to Toronto in Canada and was about 45 minutes west of Ireland when the pilots made a U-turn.

The crew of the Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner jet made contact with air traffic controllers at the Irish Aviation Authority’s North Atlantic Communications Centre at Ballygirreen in Co. Clare to advise them of their situation.

The flight crew confirmed they had a seriously ill elderly passenger on board and wished to divert to Shannon, requesting emergency medical services to be informed and standing by.

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The crew also sought clearance to dump aviation fuel over the ocean. This is to ensure that the aircraft touched down in Shannon within safe landing weight limits. At Shannon, the airport’s fire and rescue service was alerted and requested to turn out. This is normal procedure at Shannon for an aircraft that has jettisoned fuel before landing.

The aircraft landed safely at 4.13pm and was accompanied to the terminal building by airport fire crews who checked the jet’s undercarriage to ensure the brakes hadn’t overheated during the emergency landing.

At the terminal, National Ambulance Service paramedics; a doctor; airport staff and ground crews were waiting for the aircraft.

The passenger, understood to be an elderly man, was assessed and treated on board the aircraft before being removed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick. It’s believed he was accompanied by a family member who also travelled to the hospital.

In accordance with security procedures, the passenger’s baggage was removed from the aircraft. The flight is expected to continue its journey once the aircraft has been refuelled and the crew receives a new flight plan.

About the author:

Patrick Flynn

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