US passenger jet conducts emergency landing at Shannon

Fire extinguishers were activated but alarm was suspected to be a ‘false indication’

American Airlines flight AA-104 was travelling from New York’s JFK Airport to Heathrow in London when the crew declared a May-Day emergency at around 7.30am. File image: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

American Airlines flight AA-104 was travelling from New York’s JFK Airport to Heathrow in London when the crew declared a May-Day emergency at around 7.30am. File image: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

 

A transatlantic jet made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport on Wednesday after the crew reported a possible fire on board.

An emergency plan was implemented at Shannon Airport while the Irish Coast Guard placed a number of RNLI lifeboats on the west coast on “immediate readiness” for the incident.

American Airlines flight AA-104 was travelling from New York’s JFK Airport to Heathrow in London when the crew declared a May-Day emergency at around 7.30am. There were 119 passengers and crew on board.

The crew of the Boeing 777-200 jet advised air traffic controllers they had a “fire indication” in one of the cargo holds. The crew confirmed they had activated the internal fire extinguishers.

After being alerted by air traffic control, authorities at Shannon implemented emergency procedures.

Clare County Fire and Rescue Service was alerted and crews were mobilised from Shannon Town and Ennis stations. The HSE was also notified while the National Ambulance Service and the Garda dispatched multiple resources to the airport.

The Irish Coast Guard was informed, and lifeboats based at Fenit Co Kerry, Kilrush in Co Clare and the Aran Islands were placed on standby as a precaution.

The flight crew told controllers that the fire alarm was in the aft (rear) cargo hold and that the aircraft’s internal fire extinguishers were activated. The pilot also confirmed they suspected the alarm was probably a “false indication”.

The flight crew confirmed they did not anticipate evacuating passengers on the runway but requested that fire crews use thermal imaging equipment to carry out an external inspection of the fuselage to see whether there was any indication of heat, or fire.

Shannon Airport’s fire and rescue crews, backed up by other agencies, were standing by for the aircraft when it landed safely at 8.42am.

Emergency vehicles followed the plane along the runway and surrounded it while fire officers undertook the initial external investigation of the cargo hold.

Once it had been confirmed they was no visible scorching or any other indication of heat or fire, the aircraft the was able to taxi to the terminal where a further investigation of the issue was carried out.