Eight-hour flight diverts to Dublin after disruptive passenger and medical case both cause chaos onboard

An ambulance and police officers met the aircraft after the unexpected landing

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 03 June 2024 20:17
Flight path of United Airlines UA998 on Monday 3 June 2024
Flight path of United Airlines UA998 on Monday 3 June 2024 (Flightradar24)

More than 200 passengers aboard a United Airlines transatlantic flight have spent the afternoon unexpectedly at Dublin airport – due to a disruptive passenger, as well as a passenger with a medical condition that caused concern.

UA998 departed normally from Brussels, destination New York Newark, at 11.15am local time on Monday morning. The Boeing 787 flew normally over the Channel, southern England and the Irish Sea, beginning its planned oceanic journey over Ilfracombe in North Devon.

But 20 minutes later, while south of Cork, the aircraft diverted to Dublin, where it landed at 12.37pm local time.

The plane was directed to a remote stand away from other aircraft, while police and ambulance officers attended.

The airport posted on Twitter/X: “Flight UA998 from Brussels to New York’s Newark Airport diverted to Dublin Airport this afternoon due to reports of two separate incidents – a disruptive passenger and a suspected medical issue – on board.

“Appropriate protocols were put in place by Dublin Airport Operations and Airport Police for the arrival of the aircraft and Gardai, National Ambulance Service and HSE [Health Service Executive] personnel met the aircraft on arrival.”

The presence of HSE staff is believed to indicate that there was concern about a possible case of an infectious disease on board.

Both the medical case and the disruptive passenger were taken off the aircraft. Other passengers remained on the jet, which was eventually cleared to depart.

It took off at 6.20pm local time, and is expected to touch down at Newark airport at least five hours behind schedule.

Officials say the airport’s normal operations were unaffected.

A United Airlines spokesperson said: “United flight 998 from Brussels to New York/Newark landed safely in Dublin on Monday because of a disruptive passenger.

“Separately, a medical situation was identified with a different passenger. Medical personnel in Ireland investigated and cleared the flight to continue with the removal of one disruptive passenger, one ill passenger and one other person travelling with the ill passenger.

“The flight has re-departed for New York/Newark.”

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