independent

Friday 19 September 2014

Terror in the skies

PASSENGER READY TO SWIM AS PLANE LIMPS ACROSS SHANNON

SIMON BROUDER & MARIAN O'FLAHERTY

Published 24/10/2012 | 11:20

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A DINGLE woman who was one of eight passengers aboard Sunday's aborted flight from Kerry to Dublin has described how she mentally prepared herself in case the plane plunged into the River Shannon after one of its engines shut down moments after take off.

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Endurance Swimmer Nuala Moore was preparing to swim for her life as the stricken plane limped to Shannon Airport for an emergency landing.

It's the second time in three months that an Aer Lingus flight on the Kerry - Dublin route has been forced to make an emergency landing because of engine trouble. A DINGLE woman has described how she had to mentally prepare herself for her plane to plunge into the Shannon River when the flight she was taking from Kerry to Dublin was forced into an emergency landing after an engine was shut down minutes into the flight.

Nuala Moore was one of eight passengers on the 9am Aer Lingus regional flight between Kerry and Dublin on Sunday morning, which had to be aborted when an engine suffered a serious technical problem and had to be shut down just moments after the plane left Farranfore.

The flight, which was carrying eight passengers and three crew, was diverted to Shannon Airport where it made an emergency landing 19 tense minutes after leaving Kerry and having been forced to swoop low over the Shannon River as it limped to the runway at the airport.

It's the second time in just three months that an Aer Lingus regional flight between Dublin and Kerry had to perform and emergency landing following an engine failure. Aer Lingus Regional services are operated by Aer Arann.

On August 2 another Aer Arann plane, flying the same route, had to carry out an emergency landing at Kerry Airport when it's left engine cut out immediately after take off.

Nuala Moore said there was an "eerie silence" on board the flight after the captain announced an engine had been shut down and that they would be attempting an emergency landing at Shannon.

"We just had just left Kerry when I looked out the window and saw that the left propeller had stopped turning," Nuala told The Kerryman.

Despite the terrifying nature of the news Nuala remained calm and the experienced endurance swimmer began to consider her options and to go through the motions in her head as to what she had to do next.

Nuala said she was relieved when she looked out the window and saw the River Shannon, which she has swam across in the past.

"I took out the manual, studied what I had to do and tried to visualise my exit. My plan was that it we made it into the River Shannon I'd survive. But thankfully it didn't come to that.

"The pilots and crew were amazing and I wish to commend them for the way they handled everything so professionally and calmly," she said.

"I was wearing flip-flops, shorts, t-shirt and a fleece, which I took off, so I was ready to go if we did end up in the Shannon," Naula said matter of factly.

"One minute I was looking forward to my morning cup of coffee, the next minute we had only one propeller and I was looking for my life jacket," she said.

"I secured my life jacket and checked out the door nearest to me, counting out in my head how many steps it would take me to get to it."

"With no propeller going on the left hand side there was an eerie silence," she said.

"I thought we might be coming down too fast and too low but the pilots were magnificent.

"Perhaps it was because we were only in the air for a few minutes but it seemed that there was no time to panic, I don't know, but a sense of logic definitely seemed to prevail," she said.

An Aer Lingus Regional spokesperson said that the flight was diverted to Shannon due to a technical issue and that the aircraft had landed normally at Shannon.

Aer Lingus Regional apologised for any inconvenience caused to their customers.

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