Sarah Watkins was on board the flight when made an emergency return to Manchester yesterday
A PLANE passenger has spoken of the terrifying moment she claims a jet’s cabin filled with acrid diesel fumes while she watched fuel pour from its hull in midair.
Sarah Watkins said she was on board the MT2718 jet from Manchester to Las Vegas yesterday when it was forced to make an emergency return 30 minutes into the flight.
And it occurred less than an hour after a passenger checked in a piece of luggage but didn’t board the flight, sparking a terror scare, she said.
The 35-year-old, from Greater Manchester, told The Sun Online: “Everything was fine until 30 minutes (in) the pilot said: ‘We’re going to have to return to Manchester – just a small technical issue’.
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“They wouldn’t tell us, they just said ‘it’s just a precaution’, it’s absolutely fine’.
“You could see streams of liquid kind of coming off the plane, and that’s where they were trying to dump the fuel over the Irish Sea.”
She claims she later heard the technical issue was an “oil leak”.
She said the pilot told the passengers they were getting rid of the fuel because it was “too dangerous to land with a full belly of fuel”.
“The smell was absolutely horrendous. You could taste it on your breath and it was absolutely awful.
“It smelled like a mixture of fuel, car fumes and hot melted plastic like that electrical burning smell.
“It was just like a white stream, kind of like a mist or spray leaving the back of the plane. The cabin filled with fumes like a vapour.
“As we were leaving the plane (you could see) the cockpit was in absolute mess. It looked like an all night party had been going on, with paper everywhere.
“So there must have been a bit of a panic going on. It was certainly played down.
“I know their job is to keep everybody calm but you could tell that they were panicked but just didn’t want to show it.”
Sarah, who is visiting Las Vegas with pal Luan Dickinson, 43, said the previous incident involving the missing passenger had already “set alarms bells off”.
“I thought, who the hell does that? As soon as you’ve checked in you go through passport control. That had me worried.”
Dramatic footage taken from Manchester Airport yesterday showed several fire engines racing out to the jet as soon as it touched down on the tarmac.
A Thomas Cook spokesperson said: “Flight MT2718 from Manchester (MAN) to Las Vegas (LAS) returned to Manchester after a suspected technical fault with the aircraft. The Airbus A330-200, with 283 customers on board, landed safely after circling to reduce its weight.
“All customers and their bags were transferred on to another aircraft and departed shortly after 1300h. “We’re extremely sorry for the delay but are sure our customers will understand that safety always comes first.”
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