The moment hundreds of Virgin Atlantic travellers were told the captain was going to make an emergency landing back at Gatwick Airport because one of the wheels did not deploy yesterday was captured on camera.
The clip filmed by a passenger called Sarah Jane shows a flight attendant demonstrating the safety positions that the travellers, who were initially expecting to land in Las Vegas, had to take while another crew member tells them to not put on their life jackets as they would be landing on ground.
Travellers on VS43 had taken off at 11.44am from the airport in Sussex and it reached as far west as Bristol and circled southern England before flying low over Gatwick so the undercarriage of the plane could be visually inspected with binoculars.
The Boeing 747 plane landed safely shortly before 4pm, however flights to and from the airport were cancelled as the aircraft had remained on the runway for three hours.
The flight attendant in the video clip says: “Your life jacket is below your seat. You do not need your life jacket, we’re landing on land. Leave your life jacket where it is.”
“When you hear the command ‘brace, brace’ you must adopt a brace position shown on your safety card. You must stay in the brace position until the aircraft stops completely.”
He repeats the last sentence before saying that the captain may order the passengers to quickly leave the aircraft by saying “this is an evacuation, evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”
Another flight attendant demonstrates the brace position after pointing out the exits on the plane. She places her hands over her head while some other passengers follow her lead.
Nick Hughes, a passenger on the aircraft, had told BBC Radio 5 Live: “The actual landing was one of the softest landings I’d ever had. The crew were exemplary.”
Passengers on board the flight have been expecting to leave on another aircraft at 11am today to get to the west coast of the US in time to see in the New Year.
Arriving easyJet flights were diverted to Southend and Bristol airports and 34 departures made by the airline were cancelled from Gatwick due to the Virgin Atlantic plane.
British Airways inbound flights were also diverted to Bournemouth and Southampton. Compensation in cash is not expected to be paid to passengers whose flights are cancelled or heavily delayed, as the event counts as an “extraordinary circumstance,” however they were provided with food and overnight accommodation.
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