Passengers fainted and were sick with terror when a Jet2 plane’s wing flaps malfunctioned, forcing a hero pilot to land the aircraft at full speed.
The aircraft landed at 3.30am at Manchester Airport even though it was due to land in Leeds Bradford, 58 miles from its original destination, two hours earlier.
After circling Leeds for an hour, the pilot told passengers the wing flaps, which are used to decrease the plane’s speed, were malfunctioning and they needed to make an emergency landing.
The aircraft landed ‘fast and hard’ at full speed, using the entire length of the runway to slow down, with six fire engines spraying down the plane’s wheels.
One mother feared the plane was going to go up in a ball of flames and another said the heroic pilot saved their lives.
Passengers fainted and were sick with terror when a Jet2 plane’s wing flaps malfunctioned, forcing a hero pilot to land the aircraft at full speed on Friday
The aircraft landed at 3.30am at Manchester Airport even though it was due to land in Leeds Bradford, 58 miles from their original destination, two hours earlier
Passenger Jennifer Gilroy, 42, was on the Leeds-bound flight from Crete with her 13-year-old daughter and praised the pilot for keeping the packed flight calm.
Speaking to Mail Online, she said: ‘The pilot saved our lives, really. I was thinking if the plane catches fire, the jets are towards the back and would be the first to go. And we were sitting towards the back.
‘It was a really good pilot, he kept us all calm. When we landed, he came out and spoke with every person.’
Ms Gilroy said she first knew something was wrong when the plane started to descend and then came straight back up and began to circle Leeds.
The plane circled for nearly an hour, Ms Gilroy said, before the pilot came over the system to announce the wing flaps weren’t working and they were trying to figure out a solution.
Later it was announced they needed to head to Manchester because it was the closest airport with a long enough runway for the plane to land at full speed.
Ms Gilroy said the passengers were told to brace themselves for a hard landing and she told her daughter she loved her, just in case the worst happened.
She said: ‘We were bracing ourselves, you could hear everything screeching. It came in at full speed, seriously fast, hitting the ground.
‘It felt like the plane wasn’t going to stop. It kept going, going and going.’
Passenger Jennifer Gilroy, 42, was on the Leeds-bound flight from Crete with her 13-year-old daughter and praised the pilot for keeping the packed flight calm
Penie Craig (left), 49 was travelling back to Leeds Bradford Airport with her husband Michael, 54 (right) and son Jaiden, 14 when the Jet2 had to make an emergency landing at Manchester Airport after the wing flaps stopped working
Ms Gilroy said she sustained a back injury from the hard landing, having to go to A&E the next day when her back locked up.
She has stayed at home in attempt to recover and said she hasn’t heard anything from Jet2, besides a standard survey of how her flight went.
Ms Gilroy also said that the flight was delayed from Greece for about an hour, waiting 30 minutes to board and another 30 minutes while on the plane.
She wrote on Facebook: ‘It was scary! My back is completely done in as well now…only person I’m showing mi tan of is to doctor!
‘We were v lucky so I guess my back is nothing to what could have been…pilot did great xx.’
Penie Craig, 49, was travelling back to Leeds Bradford Airport after a two-week break in Crete with her husband Michael, 54, and son Jaiden, 14.
She sensed something was wrong when the plane failed to land at the estimated time and an announcement followed from the captain who said he was having to circle the plane because of a ‘technical error on the flight deck’.
She said: ‘I hate flying as it is and after another 20 to 25 minutes, the captain came on again and said ‘unfortunately it’s to do with the flaps’.
The budget airline recently had to make an emergency landing after cabin pressure dropped (stock image)
‘When you land, they help to slow you down but they weren’t working.
‘They tried to think of something else but we were due to land at Leeds Bradford and the runway there wasn’t big enough, meaning we wouldn’t have slowed down quickly enough and we would have gone off the runway.’
She added: ‘It was just awful and my first thought was, ‘oh my God, the plane was going to set on fire’ but I had to be calm because my son was there.
‘I’m not a great flyer. I’ve flown loads before but this time it was really stressful and I had to stop myself throwing up. It really has unsettled me and I’m glad I’m not going on holiday again too soon.’
The budget airline firm said flight LS444 from Heraklion in Crete to Leeds Bradford had to go into a ‘holding pattern in order to assess a flap indication issue’.
A spokeswoman for Jet2 said: ‘The aircraft landed safely and onward transport was arranged for our customers back to Leeds’
A spokeswoman for Jet2 said: ‘The decision was taken to divert into Manchester Airport as a precautionary measure due to it having a longer runway to facilitate a smooth landing.
‘The aircraft landed safely and onward transport was arranged for our customers back to Leeds. The safety of our customers is always our number one priority.’
This latest incident with a Jet2 plane comes days after another jet travelling from Faro in Portugal to Leeds Bradford was forced to make an emergency landing in Bordeaux when cabin pressures dropped on August 10.
On Thursday, another Jet2 plane was met with fire engines and ambulance crews on arrival after cabin pressures dropped again on another flight from Newcastle to Dalaman meaning that too had to make an emergency landing.