The Tenerife-bound plane was forced to make an unscheduled stop at Gatwick Airport after one of its engines was damaged by seagulls.
Thomson Airways Flight TOM6248 was forced to make an emergency landing at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) on Tuesday after one of its engines sustained damage in a bird strike. The incident occurred just after the Tenerife-bound flight took off from Bournemouth Airport (BOH) in southern England at 08:21 a.m. local time.
Those onboard the flight reported hearing a “loud thud” just after the plane departed BOH. The pilot then informed passengers that an engine had been damaged due to the strike but that, because of the plane’s fuel level, it wasn’t able to return to Bournemouth.
TOM6248 then spent approximately 30 minutes circling BOH before it could land, where it was met on the tarmac by a dozen fire engines.
Speaking of the incident, 42-year-old passenger Eric Jackson confirmed that he had heard the bird strike just after the plane departed from BOH. “There was a really loud vibrating noise through the plane and you could just tell something was wrong. The pilot came on the radio system and said there had been a bird strike and that a seagull had damaged one of the engines,” he told the Express.
“It was a bit worrying because we weren’t really sure what the problem was and what was going to happen. We just kept circling. Then when we arrived at Gatwick we were met with a dozen fire engines on the tarmac,” Jackson added.
A spokesperson for BOH confirmed the incident. In a statement quoted by the Daily Echo, Thomson said that it was “sorry for the delay caused to passengers onboard flight TOM6248 from Bournemouth to Tenerife. The aircraft has diverted to London Gatwick as a precautionary measure following a suspected bird strike.”
“The safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance and we would like to reassure customers that issues of this nature are very rare,” it added.