A “technical problem” caused a Virgin Atlantic flight to make an emergency landing at Gatwick airport today; causing a two-hour suspension of flights and longer delays.
The West Sussex fire and rescue service confirmed they had been called to the airport for a fire on the Airbus 330-300. Passengers had to immediately evacuate through the chutes at the emergency exits, causing minor injuries to some.
A statement from the airline said: “Our teams at Gatwick are now offering full support, looking after our passengers and assisting with their immediate requirements. Virgin Atlantic is working closely with the authorities to establish the cause of this incident. The safety and welfare of our crew and passengers is Virgin Atlantic’s top priority.”
Richard Branson, the airline’s boss, tweeted: “Very sorry to all passengers on board VS27, the staff @virginatlanticare doing everything they can to look after everybody. More info soon.”
The Virgin Atlantic plane had taken off from Gatwick, bound for Orlando, Florida, at 11.48am BST then made the emergency landing at 12.17pm. Liam Moore, a passenger on the flight, told the BBC: “We were on the plane and everything seemed fine. Then the pilot came on the Tannoy about 10 minutes into the flight and said we would have to do an emergency landing.
“It all happened so quickly. We landed and suddenly all the doors flung open and the emergency slides were inflated.”
Some flights were cancelled or had to be diverted, and airlines asked passengers to check the status of their flights before going to the airport.