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Four injured in Virgin Airways emergency landing

April 16, 2012, London, U.K. - Virgin Atlantic Airways said four people suffered minor injuries after a plane bound from Britain to Florida made an emergency landing at London's Gatwick Airport Monday.


April 16, 2012
By Carey Fredericks

The airline declined to provide further details on the nature of the injuries or what exactly caused the emergency, but said that all passengers and crew have safely disembarked the plane.

Fire officials said there were reports of a small fire on the plane, an Airbus A330-300, which took off at 10:48 a.m. local time (0948GMT, 5:48 a.m. EDT) and landed safely just under two hours later.

"Due to a technical problem, the captain decided as a precautionary measure to immediately evacuate the aircraft,'' Virgin Atlantic said in a statement, adding that flight VS27 from Gatwick to Orlando, Florida had 299 passengers and 13 crew aboard.

The airline said it is working closely with authorities to establish the cause of the incident and that it has teams at Gatwick offering "full support'' to passengers.

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A spokeswoman for Gatwick said the airport was closed for more than an hour and a half as passengers on the stricken plane used emergency slides to get to safety. The airport reopened using a backup runway just after 2 p.m. (1300GMT, 9 a.m. EDT), said the spokeswoman, who did not give her name in keeping with company
policy.

She said passengers at Gatwick could expect delays.

Virgin Atlantic chief Richard Branson tweeted an apology to those on board the plane. He said the airline's staff is doing everything possible to help passengers and said more information would be available soon.