Passengers on a flight that had to abort a landing at Bristol Airport have spoken of their ordeal as the plane ‘bounced hard’ down the runway and had to divert to Birmingham.
Passengers on a TUI flight from Cape Verde to Bristol endured a 20-hour ordeal that involved airport delays, a frightening aborted landing, pilots texting an emergency code, being stranded for hours aboard the plane on the runway at Birmingham, with all three emergency services being called on board to deal with sick or angry passengers and eventually a coach back to Bristol a day after arrival.
The journey aboard the Boeing Dreamliner was due to begin early Tuesday evening with a flight back to Bristol from Cape Verde, a holiday destination off the coast of West Africa.
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But the problems started when the flight was delayed for several hours and finally took off just before midnight – with an estimated arrival time of around 6am in Bristol this morning, Wednesday June 8.
But passengers said things started to go wrong when the pilot began the descent to Bristol Airport. Data from the FlightRadar flight tracking website, reported earlier by Bristol Liveshowed the plane descended to 800 feet before climbing back up, but passengers on board said they did land on the runway – hard – before leaving.
“We absolutely bounced off the runway into the sky causing a system error,” said Devon passenger Rachael Lewis. Bristol Live. “Before we landed the captain said it would be bouncy due to the long tarmac. We took a shortcut, I’ve traveled a lot in Bristol and I was like ‘where are we going?’ We descended and the plane honestly felt like it had smashed the tarmac, then we climbed back into the air.
“The captain announced that it was normal and that he was going to try again. We made a big turn and then he announced that a system error had occurred,” she added. “Honestly, it was scary. I landed in Canada in ice and snow, but it was ‘bouncing, bouncing’.
That’s when the maps on their screens changed and a new destination was announced – Birmingham Airport. But the ordeal was not over for passengers and crew.
It was at this point, just north of Gloucester, that the pilot issued a general emergency signal “code 7700”, alerting air traffic controllers that there was a problem with the plane and that it should land .
There were even more delays during the inspection of the plane, to see if it could return to Bristol. The passengers stayed on the plane for two hours and things got rough.
First, after about an hour, the passengers became unruly towards the cabin crew. “Lots of people kicked things off,” Rachael said. “A man abused the staff, so they called the police.” This man was escorted off the plane. Then a pregnant woman on board fell seriously ill, and after a doctor was called on board, before airport firefighters entered the plane to administer first aid, followed by paramedics who nursed her to the back of the plane.
Finally, after two hours, the passengers said they were told the plane would not be returning to Bristol, and they were allowed to get off the plane to collect their luggage, and another wait in the airport terminal for a coach to return down the M5 to Bristol.