Egyptair flight MS-986 was en route from New York’s JFK International Airport to Cairo in Egypt with 181 passengers and crew when one of the Boeing 777’s engines failed. At about 4.00am, the crew of a Boston-bound Aer Lingus flight contacted air traffic controllers at Shannon to advise them that another aircraft in their area had sent a may day signal.
Soon afterwards, the Egyptair crew contacted controllers to confirm the aircraft had suffered an engine failure and they were declaring an emergency.
The pilot informed controllers that he wished to divert to the nearest airport and was instructed to route towards Shannon. According to passengers however, they were not told the reason for the diversion.
Airport crash crews were placed on standby while local authority fire and medical services were sent to Shannon.
The flight touched down safely at 5.05am and was quickly pursued along the runway by emergency crews. The jet came to a safe stop and was able to taxi under its own power to the terminal building.
The passengers disembarked normally and were taken to the transit lounge while engineers set about investigating the issue with the engine. When it became clear the jet would not be able to continue its journey, it was grounded and the passengers were taken to the West County Hotel in Ennis.
One passenger, a US businessman who did not want to be named, said: “No one has actually told us what happened, but others were saying it was an engine failure. We were told nothing really, no one actually said it was an engine failure.
“We had gone through some rough turbulence and after it smoothed out, I put my seat back so I could sleep. Then there was an announcement about putting our seats upright again and to prepare for landing. We landed about 40 minutes later and were told to take just the minimum with us.”
A replacement aircraft arrived in Shannon at 4pm and left again at 6.45pm. It was due to land in Cairo at 3am today.