Aviation News

April 16, 2012

Virgin Atlantic Airbus Jet Makes Emergency Landing in London After Fire Scare

Virgin Atlantic Flight 72, an Airbus A330-300 (G-VSXY) sits on the runway at Gatwick with its emergency slides deployed. (Photo by Lorna Wilson via Twitter)
Virgin Atlantic Flight 72, an Airbus A330-300 (G-VSXY) sits on the runway at Gatwick with its emergency slides deployed. (Photo by Lorna Wilson via Twitter)
A Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330-300 made an emergency landing at London’s Gatwick Airport on Monday and evacuated all 299 passengers and 13 crew onto the runway via emergency slides. Four people were injured during the evacuation.

There were conflicting reports as to the nature of the emergency on Virgin Atlantic Flight 72, from Gatwick to Orlando, but all seemed to point to indications of a fire.

One report said the pilots received indication of a cargo hold fire. A second said there was smoke emanating from the cockpit. And a third said fire crews on the ground actually extinguished a “blaze” in the cockpit. Virgin would only say the plane landed due to a “technical problem.”

The aircraft remained on Gatwick’s Runway 8R for much of the day, causing delays for other traffic at the dual-runway airport.

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson tweeted an apology to the flight’s passengers:

The aircraft, registered G-VSXY, Beauty Queen, was the first A330 to enter service with Virgin Atlantic about a year ago. The carrier now operates three of the type.