Connacht rugby team involved in 'full emergency' as their plane diverts to Belfast
A plane carrying the Connacht rugby team has been forced to make an emergency landing in Belfast airport after a technical problem with the aircraft resulted in 'a full emergency'.
The Flybe flight from Birmingham departed at 10.20am, as the team made their way back to Ireland following Saturday's 24-24 Challenge Cup draw against Worcester.
Yet it was forced to divert from it's path towards Knock and landed in Belfast, with the airport spokesperson issuing this statement:
"Flybe flight en route from Birmingham to Knock declared a full emergency and diverted to Belfast International due to a technical problem," read the statement. "Full emergency procedures were activated and it landed safely. The passengers are being transported to Knock by bus."
The @flybe aircraft that diverted to us on its way to Knock @irelandwest. Probs with flaps but landed safely. On board, the @connachtrugby team on way home after yesterday’s game against @worcswarriors pic.twitter.com/TjehiFHD80— Belfast Airport (@belfastairport) January 14, 2018
In a statement, a spokesperson for the airline said: "Flybe can confirm that the captain of the above flight took the recommended action following a suspected technical fault during the above flight from Birmingham to Ireland West Airport Knock and, as an additional precautionary measure, elected to divert to Belfast International where the aircraft landed safely without incident.
"As is usual in such circumstances, the airport put its emergency vehicles on standby. All 62 passengers disembarked as normal when the aircraft arrived on stand following which they were transported by road to their destination.
"The safety of its passengers and crew is the airline’s number one priority and Flybe sincerely apologises for any inconvenience experienced."
Connacht's Bundee Aki confirmed they had diverted in Belfast and thanked the pilot for the safe landing, but did not seem impressed the prospect of a long coach journey back to their base as he tweeted: "Yay 5 hour bus drive."