A holiday jet diverted to Shannon Airport with a seriously ill passenger yesterday - the fourth medical emergency at the airport in just a week.
TUI flight TOM24 was just 30 minutes into its flight from London Gatwick Airport to Bridgetown on the Caribbean island of Barbados, with 354 passengers and crew on board, when the crew declared an emergency.
The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jet was about 250km south east of Cork when the crew requested clearance to divert to Shannon. The pilot reported they had an elderly lady on board who was 'unresponsive'.
Cabin crew members took out the aircraft's defibrillator, but it is not known if they needed to use it.
The crew also told controllers they needed to dump aviation fuel to ensure it touched down within safe landing weight limits.
The flight landed safely at 11.33am and was met by airport fire crews who accompanied the jet to the terminal where National Ambulance Service paramedics were also standing by.
The woman, believed to be in her 70s, was taken to University Hospital Limerick for treatment.
This latest diversion was the fifth that authorities at Shannon dealt with over the holiday period, including four medical emergencies.
On Christmas Eve, a 10-year-old girl died on a flight from Toronto to London that diverted to Shannon while on Christmas Day, an EL AL flight from Israel to the US was forced to make an unscheduled landing after a woman suffered a suspected miscarriage.
Early yesterday, a British Airways flight from Miami to London declared a medical emergency and diverted to Shannon.
On St Stephen's Day, an OpenSkies flight from New York to Paris diverted to the mid-west airport so that passengers could use the toilet facilities. The crew reported that the jet's toilets were 'unserviceable'.
Of the estimated 60 flights that made unscheduled landings at Shannon Airport this year, nearly half were medical emergencies.
The others included diversions for technical, security and weather-related issues.