Simon’s plane fire nightmare

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Simon Tiernan, who lives with his wife Ruth in Hillsborough, has been left shaken after the plane he was on had to make an emergency landing at Belfast International Airport.

Simon, who works for Aiken PR, was flying back from Glasgow to the George Best Belfast City Airport when an engine on the FlyBe plane he was on caught fire.

Flybe confirmed the flight was diverted due to a small engine fire “which was extinguished before landing”.

However, Simon said the experience was very frightening and had made him think twice about flying again.

“I was on business in Glasgow and was due to fly home,” he explained.

“Before we took off we had to leave the plane as one of the front tyres was flat. After we took off, we were about twenty-five minutes into the flight when there was a loud banging on the left hand side of the plane.

“I naïvely thought it was the wheels coming down for landing but the air steward announced over the tannoy that one of the engines was on fire and the flight would be diverted to Belfast International.

“It took everyone a while to let this sink in but we knew from the way the air steward was acting that it was serious and certainly wasn’t a laughing matter.

“You could feel the heat rising in the plane from the flames outside and it took about twenty minutes to land. It felt like a very long time and I spent a lot of time staring out of the window.

“I was sitting at the emergency exit and the air steward went through with me twice what I might have to do.

“Luckily when we landed we didn’t need the emergency exit but I think passengers at the back of the plane had to jump out.”

Simon was relieved to get off the plane and home to his wife in Hillsborough.

The couple, who moved to Northern Ireland six months ago, have already booked flights to Wiltshire in the New Year but Simon is having second thoughts.

“I don’t think it will put me off flying for good but it has made me think twice. I might look for alternative transport for the New Year.”