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Flights halted at London airport after emergency landing

posted 16 Apr 2012, 08:00 by Mpelembe   [ updated 16 Apr 2012, 08:01 ]

Flights in and out of Gatwick, one of London's main airports are suspended after a plane makes an emergency landing, with reports of a small fire on board.

GATWICK, WEST SUSSEX, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (APRIL 16, 2012) (BBC/ITN HELICOPTER) -London Gatwick, British capital's second-largest airport, was forced to close its runways temporarily on Monday (April 16) after a Virgin Atlantic flight made an emergency landing, the airline and airport said.

The Virgin flight, which was heading to Orlando in the United States, was forced to turn back after the plane developed a problem.

"Due to a technical problem on board the aircraft, the captain decided, as a precautionary measure, to immediately evacuate the aircraft," Virgin said in a statement.

"Our teams at Gatwick are now looking after our passengers and assisting with their immediate requirements."

The Airbus A330-300 aircraft was carrying 13 crew and 299 passengers, the statement added.

On its Twitter feed, Gatwick said the incident had forced the airport to close. A number of incoming flights were diverted - some to Stansted airport in Essex, north of London.