Virgin Atlantic Flight Diverts to St. John's After Medical Emergency on Board

Virgin Atlantic flight VS135, traveling from London to Orlando, was forced to declare a medical emergency and divert to St. John's International Airport (YYT) in Newfoundland, Canada on May 13th, 2024. The Airbus A350-1000, carrying an unspecified number of passengers and crew, departed London Heathrow Airport (LHR) at 15:19 BST. While cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet, the situation on board escalated, prompting the crew to declare a general emergency. This is indicated by squawking code 7700, the international transponder code for an in-flight emergency.


Details surrounding the nature of the medical emergency remain undisclosed. However, reports indicate a passenger required urgent medical attention, necessitating the diversion to the nearest suitable airport. St. John's, with its medical facilities, became the clear choice for an unscheduled landing. The flight crew successfully navigated the diversion and landed safely on runway 16 at St. John's International Airport at approximately 20:49 GMT (5:19 PM local time).  According to available information, the passenger requiring medical attention was promptly disembarked and tended to by medical personnel.

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Virgin Atlantic has not yet released an official statement regarding the incident. However, their focus will likely be on ensuring the well-being of the passenger who necessitated the diversion. Additionally, the airline will need to arrange for the remaining passengers to continue their journey to Orlando. This could involve rebooking them on a later Virgin Atlantic flight or potentially with another carrier.

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The incident serves as a reminder of the critical role well-trained medical professionals play in air travel.  Flight crews are equipped to handle a variety of medical emergencies, and having access to medical facilities on the ground is crucial for ensuring passenger safety.

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