Shannon flights resume after fire on plane carrying US troops

Smoke seen coming from landing gear of plane used for transferring military

The Omni Air International Boeing 767-300  at Shannon Airport. Photograph: Jack O’Shea

The Omni Air International Boeing 767-300 at Shannon Airport. Photograph: Jack O’Shea

 

Flights at Shannon airport have resumed after being suspended when a plane used to carry US military personnel caught fire before take-off.

The Omni Air International Boeing 767-300 was about to depart when the crew had to return to the terminal. Omni Air International is a civilian airline that transports personnel for the US military.

Air traffic controllers noticed smoke coming from the jet’s right side landing gear as it taxied along the runway.

It is understood the crew was forced to abort an earlier take-off because of an issue in the cockpit.

Later, shortly before the flight was due to depart again, the crew said they wanted to return to the terminal and have the brakes checked.

While the aircraft was taxiing along the runway, smoke was spotted by air traffic controllers who alerted the flight crew. They later instructed them to evacuate the aircraft as a fire could been seen in the left side landing gear.

The crew brought the aircraft to a stop on the runway while passengers and crew left the jet via emergency slides.

In the meantime airport fire crews were scrambled to deal with the incident and extinguished the fire.

Shannon Group confirmed that one passenger received medical attention for a minor injury.

As as result of the incident, the only operational runway at Shannon was closed and flights were suspended.

The aircraft was removed from the runway and an inspection of the surface of the runway was carried out.

In a statement, Shannon Group said the airport reopened at 11.15am after the successful removal of a plane from the runway following an incident earlier this morning.

“As there has been flight disruption, intending passengers have been asked to contact their airlines. Updates are available on the airport social media channels. We would like to extend our thanks to the IAA (Shannon Tower Business Unit) and our airline partners for their support in the management of the incident.”

The Air Accident Investigation Unit said it was investigating the incident. “ Following consultation with the Shannon Airport Authority, the AAIU has given permission for the aircraft to be removed from the runway.”

In a statement, Omni Air International said: “We are investigating reports of an incident involving Omni Air International flight 531 at Shannon Airport, Ireland. The Omni Boeing 767-300 aircraft rejected takeoff and was safely evacuated. Initial reports indicate no serious injuries to passengers or crew. Our primary concern at this time is for their safety. We are participating in the investigation of this incident and will release further information as it becomes available.”