Eleven rushed to hospital after flight from Barbados to Manchester makes emergency landing in Bermuda
Extreme turbulence forced a cruise charter flight from Barbados to Manchester to divert to Bermuda after 11 passengers were left injured.
The 225 passengers on board had been on a P&O Caribbean cruise and were expecting to be back in the UK in good time for Christmas Day,. The 13 crew members were unharmed.
After the emergency diversion, the passengers are spending three days in Bermuda: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and most of Boxing Day.
Maleth Aero Flight 1975 had taken off from Barbados an hour late and was expected to arrive at Manchester shortly before 6am on 24 December.
Two-and-a-half hours into the flight, while cruising at 38,000 feet, the Airbus A300-200 experienced severe “clear-air turbulence”.
The pilots diverted to the nearest airport: Bermuda’s LF Wade International Airport, touching down on Christmas Eve five hours after it had taken off.
The aircraft is scheduled to depart at 4pm on Boxing Day, with an arrival in the early hours of Wednesday 27 December.
Bermuda’s acting minister of National Security, Owen Darrell, said: “We are aware of the situation and are diligently working to ensure the well-being of all involved. We are extremely grateful for the quick response of all our emergency services personnel who ensured the safety of the passengers and crew.”
A spokesperson for P&O Cruises said: “A flight from Barbados to Manchester was diverted to Bermuda earlier yesterday morning following freak (unexpected) turbulence.
“Having explored all flying options and due to airport operating times, guests are in hotels today [25 December].
The flight home is due to depart tomorrow morning, 26 December, following required legislative aircraft checks.
“We are very sorry for this disruption to their journey following their holiday and we are working with the airline and hotels to take care of them and ensure they get home as soon as possible tomorrow.”
Earlier in the autumn, some P&O Cruises customers expressed unhappiness when they learned that part of the winter flying programme between the UK and Barbados would be on the Maltese charter airline, Maleth Aero. They told The Independent they had expected to fly on Virgin Atlantic, British Airways or Tui.
Maleth Aero meets all European Union safety standards.