A couple who were onboard a TUI flight to Cape Verde from Manchester Airport say the “traumatising” experience saw people being thrown from their seats after hearing two loud bangs.
Tina and Leslie Driver, care workers, were on the delayed flight from Manchester Airport on Monday, June 27, which had to circle over Buxton for several hours before returning to the ground. The pair reported hearing two “enormous” bangs coming from one of the enginesbefore the pilot of TUI BY216 told passengers there was a technical issue with the plane.
He sent an emergency 7700 squawk code to the ground to alert them to the fact he would have to make an emergency landing, before the plane circled the skies around Manchester for several hours before coming in to land at around 1.12pm.
According to the Liverpool EchoLeslie, from Woodchurch in the Wirral, said this wasn’t the first issue they’d had, as the plane was “very hot” when they boarded to jet off for the trip they’d booked three years ago. He said: “We went through check in and security completely fine, which was great considering all the queues in recent weeks. The plane was an hour delayed but everything was going smoothly.
“We got onto the plane and it was very warm, we were told by staff the plane had been to Turkey the night before and there was a problem with the air conditioning. They said once we had taken off it would be fine. After about 10 minutes of flying we heard two enormous bangs and when I looked out the window I saw something orange fly past. My wife thought it was a bird.
“Kids were screaming and people were panicking, it was really scary. When I saw how the two airhostesses looked at each other, I knew something wasn’t right.” The plane started to circle around the airport and then proceeded to fly over the Peak District National Park, Wrexham and Merseyside for two hours and 30 minutes. During this time, Leslie said there was “quite a lot of turbulence”.
He added: “The turbulence was really bad, there was one really bad bit where everybody was thrown from their seats. The pilot and staff were fantastic, they told us what was happening and were going up and down the plane asking if people wanted water. Before we landed the pilot spoke again to say he had burnt the fuel and we would be able to do an emergency landing.
“He said because of this all the emergency services would be on the tarmac at Manchester Airport waiting for us. He said all the warning lights had come up on the plane.” Leslie said everyone onboard was okay and did not require any medical treatment. Once passengers were off the plane, TUI apologised for the disruption.
In an email sent to passengers, the airline said: “We’re really sorry for the disruption to your flight today, we appreciate this will be disappointing. Your aircraft was serviceable and took off as expected, however shortly into your flight the captain encountered a technical issue with the aircraft.
“The safety of our customers and crew is paramount and he had to make the difficult decision to turn back to Manchester Airport. Due to landing restrictions, the captain had to circle the aircraft for some time to be able to burn fuel and land safely back into Manchester.”
TUI has now arranged a alternative aircraft for those still wanting to go on holiday. The passengers have been put into hotel accommodation and given a £15 voucher to use on refreshments in the airport.