A Derry man who was a passenger on a plane forced into making an emergency landing at Shannon Airport on Monday has praised the United Airlines staff for keeping “everyone calm”.
Flight UA76 left Belfast International Airport shortly before 11:30am and was due in Newark at 1:45pm (local time) however, after experiencing difficulties the aircraft made an emergency landing at Shannon Airport. No one on board was injured.
Michael Dunne is from Templeard in Culmore and works as an engineer for American company, Superior.
Michael was on his way to visit production plants in Minnesota and Nebraska when the drama started to unfold.
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“I knew that something was wrong after we took off, it was too noisy,” said Michael. “The pilot exercised caution and we did the full “brace brace” emergency landing.”
He added: “Turns out that the front undercarriage did not go up properly. So they levelled off and did some deployments and retractions on the undercarriage. We did a slow turn and the pilot came on the intercom and explained what had happened. The pilot said he was pretty sure that the front gear clunked into place but the indicator light did not come on for a full deployment. Therefore they had to fly around and burn off fuel to reduce the weight. They also selected Shannon as it’s a very long runway.”
Michael and the other passengers spent the night in a hotel near Shannon Airport before the plane took off at 10am on Tuesday morning.
“I was seated at an exit row so the United crew briefed me and seven others to be ready to open the door and deploy the escape chutes in the unlikely event that we made a hard landing.
“The plane flew for approx three hours, it was a beautiful day and views of the west coast were stunning. The United crew were excellent and kept everyone calm. No one freaked out.
“We did a low pass over the runway at Shannon so the control tower could check the undercarriage visually. The control tower confirmed that the gear looked like it was locked in position.”