Passenger plane incident at Irish airport could have resulted in 'multiple fatalties'

Passenger plane incident at Irish airport could have resulted in 'multiple fatalties'

AN INCIDENT with a passenger plane at an Irish airport could have resulted in 'multiple fatalities' a report has found. 

The Air Accident Investigation Branch is conducting an 'in-depth' investigation into the serious incident which occurred at July 21.

The initial findings were published as part of a special bulletin issued by the AAIB into the preliminary investigation.

The aircraft, registered in Canada under Sunwing Airlines but was operating on behalf of a British tour operator Thomson Airways at the time, took off from Belfast International Airport shortly after 3.30pm.

There were 185 people on board the Corfu-bound flight, including six crew.

However, according to the AAIB, the plane's thrust setting for take off was significantly below that required for the conditions of the day, due to incorrect temperatures entered into the aircraft's computer system prior to take off.

Multiple witnesses also reported that the aircraft took a 'significant' time to lift off before climbing at a 'very shallow angle.'

Preliminary evidence from the investigation indicated that, after the aircraft lifted off from the runway, one of the tyres hit a runway approach light, which was almost 30 metres beyond the end of the runway.

The AAIB said when informed of the event, it considered the 'worst credible outcome' if the event had escalated.

"It was considered that, in slightly different circumstances, this event could have resulted in the loss of the aircraft with multiple fatalities," it said.

Examples of different circumstances considered were the same event taking place on a slightly shorter runway with the aircraft unable to lift off; obstacles in the takeoff path; or engine failure.

"The seriousness of the potential outcome, and the lack of barriers remaining to prevent it had the event escalated, persuaded the AAIB that this was a significant event requiring an in-depth investigation," the investigative agency said.