Sunday, August 05, 2012

Emergency landing shuts Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport was closed for almost an hour on Friday night after a transatlantic jet blocked both runways after an emergency landing. 

American Airlines flight AAL-155 came to a stop at the intersection of Dublin's two operational runways leaving dozens of planes circling over the Irish Sea.

Over 40 flights in all were affected with as many as 15 aircraft being forced to divert to Belfast, Shannon and Manchester while a further 20 departing jets were grounded.

Belfast's Aldergrove Airport finally said it could take no more flights and aircraft had to reroute to Shannon and Manchester instead.

The American Airlines flight was traveling from London to Boston with 172 passengers and crew and was about 400km west of Ireland when the crew reported a problem.

The pilot told controllers that he wished to turn around and divert to Dublin Airport reporting technical issues with the Boeing 757-200 plane's nose-wheel steering.

Dublin Airport's emergency plan was put into action while hospitals in the area were placed on alert. Seven units of Dublin Fire Brigade were mobilized in support of the airport's own fire crews.

As the plane neared Dublin, departing aircraft were grounded from 10pm while inbound flights were placed in holding patterns over north Co Dublin and the Irish Sea.

The troubled plane touched down shortly after 10.10pm and was quickly pursued along the runway by a fleet of emergency vehicles.

It came to a stop at the intersection of Dublin's only two operational runways leaving the airport unable to function. It remained there for 30 minutes until it could be towed to the terminal.

The airport reopened at 10.55pm.

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