PASSENGERS feared for their lives after their plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Birmingham Airport – only minutes after take-off.
It’s believed that the left-hand engine had caught fire, and some of the 200 people on board reported seeing flames through the aircraft windows.
Tuesday evening’s dramatic events came within 10 minutes of the Monarch Airlines plane leaving the runway, bound for Tenerife.
There was a loud bang, and the pilot spoke over the intercom, announcing that they were going to make an emergency landing. Passenger, Lachman Dayani, said: “Everyone was terrified. The whole plane went silent after the announcement, but you could hear people sobbing. It was frightening because everyone knew what was coming, and we would have to crash land.”
Eye-witness Gordon Browne, was watching a rugby game at the Birmingham Exiles ground, in Catherine-de-Barnes, when the aircraft passed over: “We all looked up into the sky, and saw a cloud of smoke coming from the rear of the plane,” he told BBC News.
West Midlands Fire Service said they had been called to a “full emergency” after a suspected engine fire. Crews arrived at the reconnaissance point, but were told by the airport’s own fire crews that the plane had landed safely. The aircraft touched down just before 7pm, and the airline confirmed passengers were safe.
A Monarch spokesman said: “Shortly after take-off a problem with the left-hand engine forced its shut down, and as a precautionary measure the flight diverted back to Birmingham. The aircraft landed safely at 18.55, and all passengers disembarked as normal.”
Passengers were put-up in a hotel on Tuesday night, while alternative flights were arranged.