US-bound flight diverted to Shannon after passenger falls ill

A US-bound passenger flight has made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport this afternoon after the crew declared a medical emergency over the Atlantic.

United Airlines flight UA-879 was about three hours into its journey from London to Houston, Texas when it turned around. The flight was over the Atlantic about an hour south-west of Ireland at the time.

There were 199 passengers and a crew of 14 on board.

The flight crew made contact with controllers at the Irish Aviation Authority’s North Atlantic Communications Centre at Ballygirreen in Co Clare to advise them of their situation. The crew confirmed they needed to dump aviation fuel to ensure the Boeing 777-200 jet touched down within safe landing weight limits.

Airport fire and rescue crews were standing by for the aircraft when it landed safely shortly after 3.00pm.

Ambulance paramedics and airport authorities were also waiting for the aircraft at the terminal. The ill passenger was removed to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.

An airline spokesperson said: “United flight 879 (London Heathrow – Houston) diverted to Shannon Airport due to a medical emergency on board. The aircraft landed safely at 3.02 p.m. (local time). We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused."

The flight continued to the US soon before 5.30pm.

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