15 passengers injured in evacuation after fire breaks out on board Virgin Atlantic flight

Dated:

Gatwick airport was the scene of an emergency landing yesterday (16/04/12) when a Virgin Atlantic Airbus 330 turned back mid-flight to evacuate passengers after a small fire broke out on board.

Airplane

Flight VS27 left Gatwick for Orlando in Florida but had to turn back 90 minutes into the flight after the fire broke out in the hold. Passengers said they could smell fuel during the flight, but it is reported that crew members put out the fire with handheld extinguishers.

The 229 passengers and 13 crew members evacuated the aircraft using emergency chutes at Gatwick – 15 passengers sustained injuries in the emergency procedure, including a child who broke a leg. Other passengers reportedly suffered injuries to their backs, ribs and ankles in the procedure and were taken to hospital.

Some passengers have reported that hysterical screaming broke out during the emergency evacuation procedure at Gatwick.

The runway at Gatwick was blocked for more than an hour – 26 incoming flights had to be diverted to Stansted airport and nine flights were cancelled.

There are still delays today but most flights are departing to schedule.

Last night Virgin President Sir Richard Branson tweeted his apologies – earlier in the day Virgin Atlantic issued a statement saying that the Airbus 330 had turned back to Gatwick mid-flight as a precautionary measure after developing a technical problem on board.

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