Passengers tell of terror at Glasgow airport runway evacuation two hours before a second plane is grounded in Dublin as smoke fills cabin


Steve Anderson
Friday 19 October 2012 13:33 BST
The first incident happened on a 737 plane bound for Alicante from Glasgow airport at about 7.40am
The first incident happened on a 737 plane bound for Alicante from Glasgow airport at about 7.40am (PA)

A passenger plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Dublin Airport this morning after crew detected smoke in the cockpit, only two hours after another aircraft was evacuated on a runway at Glasgow Airport because traces of smoke were seen in the cabin.

The second plane, which was en route from Manchester to Tenerife, safely touched down in Dublin at about 9,40am, according to the Dublin Airport Authority.

All passengers were evacuated from the plane.

The DAA's full emergency response was put into action and backed up by at least a dozen fire and ambulance crews from across Dublin as a precaution.

Thomas Cook said all 323 passengers and crew disembarked from the plane without incident and were taken to a waiting area in the terminal.

The holiday company said flight TCX2038 had been diverted to Dublin after the captain became aware of "a minor technical issue".

A spokesman for the holiday company said: "We would like to thank our passengers for their patience and we promise to get them back on their way to Tenerife as quickly as possible."

Thomas Cook said it was working to source another plane for the journey to the Canary Islands and minimise the delay for holidaymakers.

Only two hours earlier five people were taken to hospital after all passengers were evacuated from a Jet2 aircraft preparing to take off from Glasgow Airport.

Passengers said the pilot on the Spain-bound aircraft slammed on the brakes before they were evacuated from the plane using inflatable chutes.

The incident happened on a 737 plane destined for Alicante at about 7.40am.

Strathclyde Police said five people were taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and a further 15 were treated at the scene.

No one is understood to have been seriously injured.

Passenger Jean Walker said some people had to jump from the aircraft wing to the ground.

She said: "It was terrifying.

"We were about to take off and the plane started shuddering and there were lights flashing and smoke and the crew started shouting 'Get out, get out'.

"We were sitting at the wing and the girl opened the door and we went out on the wing, but there wasn't a chute there.

"There were about eight or 10 of us on the wing and I was saying people couldn't come out because there was no chute.

"Two girls jumped off the wing on to the ground. They were OK.

"Other people got hurt coming down the chutes - they were inflated, but the hostesses were just shouting 'Jump, jump' and people were just banging into each other at the bottom, and about four people were taken to hospital."

Her husband Gordon Walker said: "You better believe it was terrifying.

"The stewardesses were panicking and shouting (at) people to go one way, then the other.

"It all happened really quick and I've never seen anything like it."

Glasgow Airport said flights were suspended until 10am following the incident, but the runway has since reopened.

Six inbound flights were diverted - two to Edinburgh, two to Manchester, one to Prestwick and one to Aberdeen.

Five flights were cancelled - two inbound from London City and Gatwick and two outbound, and one plane going to Dublin.

The airport said 14 flights were delayed.

Another passenger on the flight said the pilot applied the brakes hard just before take-off.

Graham Divers, from Glasgow, told the BBC news website: "I could smell smoke as we were accelerating hard.

"One or two passengers, including myself, had our reading light on and when I looked up to the lamps and the ceiling, I could actually see smoke swirling around and I thought, oops, there's something not right here.

"We were accelerating very, very hard down the runway at this stage and I was about to scream out to the cabin crew when obviously the pilot realised there was something wrong and he immediately throttled the engines back and put the brakes on.

"It's the hardest braking I've ever experienced in my life."

A statement from Jet2 said: "This morning's flight LS177 from Glasgow Airport to Alicante made an emergency stop on the runway just prior to take-off.

"The aircraft was forced to curtail take-off due to smoke in the cabin.

"All 189 passengers have disembarked the aircraft."

Aviation writer Jim Ferguson said it was too early to determine the cause of the smoke.

He said: "Was there a little oil perhaps drifting around in the system somewhere that heated up and got into the air conditioning? It does happen.

"Obviously it shouldn't, but it does occasionally.

"Oil is pretty sophisticated stuff in aeroplanes. I'm guessing it could even be hydraulic fluid or something.

"But the fumes can be toxic, so you don't mess around.

"Somebody would have said something, the captain pressed the big red button and everybody left. It's not lightly done."

He added: "There is a history of people being injured evacuating an aircraft.

"If you get a lot of people throwing themselves down a chute, they might land awkwardly or they may run into someone on the way down.

"Until we have much more information on this incident, it is premature to identify a cause."

The evacuation comes after around 60 passengers had to flee a Thomas Cook plane by emergency chutes when the cabin filled with smoke after landing at Glasgow Airport earlier this month.

The flight from Dalaman in Turkey touched down on October 11 as normal and was on the stand when the incident happened.

Lawyers Irwin Mitchell are representing several passengers involved in the Thomas Cook incident.

Partner Jim Morris, who is a former Boeing pilot, said: "For there to be two such similar events to have occurred in Glasgow within a matter of a few days of each other and with both events involving Boeing aircraft is a cause of significant concern.

"The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) will be carefully investigating the cause of each incident and an important aspect will be for them to determine if there are any similarities or links between these two incidents."

He added: "The hundreds of passengers affected by these two Glasgow flights, particularly those suffering injury, will want to know exactly what went wrong.

"At the same time, everyone is keen to ensure that any underlying faults are identified and resolved as soon as possible for the safety of future passengers and crew.

"As well as investigations by the AAIB, we will be undertaking our own assessment of what has gone wrong in Glasgow and we are keen to speak to passengers on board both flights and any other witnesses."

An airport statement said: "Glasgow Airport had to suspend flights until 10am when the runway was reopened.

"This has resulted in delays, and passengers are advised to check with their airlines."

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