Flight forced to return to Shannon after serious incident on board

Shannon Airport.

A TRANSATLANTIC  flight was forced to turn around over the North Atlantic and return to Shannon Airport after a passenger was reported to be unruly and abusive.

Aer Lingus flight EI-135 had taken off from Shannon at around 2.45pm yesterday (Thursday November 15) bound for Boston in the US. The Airbus A321-neo jet was almost two hours into its journey when the crew made the decision to turn around.

It’s understood that a male passenger was abusive towards cabin crew members. It’s also understood that the man in his 50s was intoxicated.

The flight crew contacted the airline’s operations centre to advise them of the situation on board. Staff there in turn alerted local Gardaí in Shannon and advised them that an aircraft was returning to the airport. Authorities at Shannon Airport were also alerted.

The flight crew also made contact with local air traffic controllers and requested permission to turn around and return to Shannon.

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Members of Shannon Airport’s Police service and Gardaí were waiting at the airport when the flight landed safely at 5.36pm.

After taxiing to the terminal building, passengers were requested to remain seated until the offending traveller had left the aircraft. Airport Police officers boarded the aircraft and the man left the plane without incident.

The man was then met by Gardaí in terminal building where he was interviewed. Gardaí also took statements from the crew about what had occurred on board.

It’s understood that the man was not arrested and that a family member was due to travel to the airport to collect the man and take him home.

A Garda spokesperson confirmed that a ‘public order’ incident occurred on board a flight that returned to Shannon.

A Garda investigation into all the circumstances of what is alleged to have occurred on board will now be carried out.

The flight resumed its journey to Boston shortly after 7.30pm.

Written by Pat Flynn.