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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Wedding party’s plane fire terror over Atlantic Ocean

A Workington wedding party had a terrifying end to their holiday when a cabin fire scare forced their plane into an emergency landing in Bermuda.

The group of 15 were on a flight from Cancun to Manchester on Tuesday when smoke was noticed in the cabin due to an electrical fault.

They were among 388 passengers on Thomas Cook Airlines Flight 149, thousands of feet above the Atlantic Ocean.

The captain declared an emergency at 8.20pm, and the charter passenger jet landed safely about 40 minutes later.

The Workington group were returning from Mexico after celebrating the wedding of Lee McAllister, 31, and Charlene Young, 24, of Distington.

The new Mrs McAllister, of Hayescastle Road, and her gas fitter husband said that they were “glad everyone was okay”.

Writing on social networking website Facebook, the bride described the experience as scary.

She said: “After our plane sets on fire in the air we are now stuck in Bermuda. Nothing like a good drama!”

Lee works for Lakeland Gas, while Charlene, who went to Stainburn School, works as an assistant physiotherapist.

Speaking from a hotel room on the island, bridesmaid Becky Fee, 25, of John Street, Workington, said: “There was a fire under one of the seats, and everybody panicked. The people sitting on the seat had a little lad with them.

“We were in the middle of the ocean and we didn’t know where we were going to land.

“We had only been on the plane for two hours when we were told we were going to land in Bermuda.

“There were loads of flashing lights when we landed and about 30 firemen.

“Two girls were put on oxygen in the airport.”

Becky, who works at Butterflies Tearooms in Workington, first realised something was wrong when she smelled the smoke.

Passengers and crew were safely evacuated, said Lieut Jay Donawa, a spokesman for the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service.

He added: “No injuries were reported and there was no fire on board when the aircraft landed.”

A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook said: “A minor fault became apparent and, as a precaution and to establish the extent of the issue, the captain requested a divert into Bermuda.

“The aircraft landed safely and all passengers are being looked after in hotels until the fault is fixed and the aircraft is ready for departure again.

“We would like to thank our passengers for their patience and we promise to get them back on their way home as quickly as possible.”

The wedding party was due to arrive in the UK yesterday.

Among them were Lorraine Tomlinson, Adam McDonald, Liam Dowse, Heather Denwood, Alison McAllister and Michael McAllister.

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