Manchester-bound holiday plane 'plummets 500ft a minute' after engine failure

Ruth Doherty
Thomson plane to Manchester in emergency landing after engine failure
Thomson plane to Manchester in emergency landing after engine failure

British passengers on a Thomson Airways Dreamliner plane from the Dominican Republic to Manchester have told of their terror after one of the engines suddenly stopped working over the Atlantic.

The Thomson Airways Boeing 787 suffered the engine failure miles from the nearest landing site, and the 288 passengers were left terrified as it "started falling from the sky".

Three hours into the flight, passengers were told by the pilot an engine would be shut down due to a mechanical fault. They then had to fly another four hours at low altitude before diverting to Lajes in The Azores - a military airbase that also runs scheduled flights.

The plane was met by fire engines, and passengers had to wait on the tarmac for another five hours, surrounded by fighter jets and armed soldiers.

After another Boeing arrived, it was another hour before take-off, and they arrived back in Manchester at 5pm, after an 11-hour and 23-minute delay.

The Barton family, from Leigh near Wigan, have spoken about the experience, with mum Caroline, 48,telling the Daily Mail: "The captain announced we had an engine failure and shut the second engine down on the right side of the plane and he said we would have to land in the Azores.

"We could see on our screens that our altitude was dropping about 500ft every minute.

"The captain said he had to fly lower because he only had one engine. It looked like we were just dropping into the Atlantic."

A Thomson Airways spokeswoman confirmed flight TOM157 experienced a technical issue and the aircraft diverted to Lajes airport in The Azores as a precautionary measure.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, she said: "Due to overcrowding at the airport, passengers remained on board with refreshments provided. They were given further refreshments in the terminal before boarding a replacement aircraft which took them back to Manchester airport, arriving just after 5pm.

"The safety of our customers and crew is of paramount importance and we would like to apologise for the delay experienced."

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