Four injured in emergency landing at UK's Gatwick

A US-bound Virgin Atlantic jet made an emergency landing at London Gatwick after a fire on board Monday, injuring four people and temporarily shutting the airport, the airline said.

The Airbus A330 headed for Orlando in Florida was carrying 13 crew and 299 passengers when it landed back at Gatwick at 12:30 pm (1130 GMT), blocking the single runway at Britain's second busiest airport for nearly two hours.

"Due to a technical problem, the captain decided as a precautionary measure to immediately evacuate the aircraft," the airline said in a statement.

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"Virgin Atlantic can confirm that all the passengers and crew have now safely disembarked.

"We can confirm that there have been four minor injuries."

The statement said the airline was offering support to the passengers on board flight VS27.

"Virgin Atlantic is working closely with the authorities to establish the cause of this incident," it added.

A spokeswoman for the airline said they did not have further details of the injuries or how they happened.

Paramedics were not immediately available for comment.

Firefighters said there had been a fire on the plane but did not say where.

"We can confirm that we were in attendance at a small fire on an aircraft which has been extinguished," a spokeswoman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service told AFP.

Gatwick said all inbound and outbound flights were halted for nearly two hours because the aircraft was still on the runway, before they were restarted just before 1330 GMT.

It said there would be "some knock-on delays."

Gatwick, south of the capital, is Britain's second largest air hub after London Heathrow and the busiest single-runway airport in the world, handling around 33 million passengers a year.

Television footage showed the grey and red aircraft on the runway surrounded by emergency vehicles, with its evacuation chutes extended.

© 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Apr 16, 2012