Saturday, November 7, 2015

British holiday jet in '1,000ft' missile scare

A Thomson jet bound for Sharm el-Sheikh reportedly came within 1,000ft of the missile

A plane carrying British tourists to Sharm el-Sheikh came within 1,000ft of a rocket, according to reports.

The near-miss involving a Thomson jet carrying 189 passengers happened on August 23, about two months before a Russian plane crashed in Sinai, Egypt, last weekend, killing 224 people.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said its investigation concluded it was not a "targeted attack", while Thomson said there was "no cause for concern" for further flights.

The Daily Mail said the pilot took evasive action and landed safely but the holidaymakers were not told about the incident.

The paper quoted a source as saying: "The pilot was in the cockpit and saw the rocket coming towards the plane. He ordered the flight turn to the left to avoid the rocket, which was about 1,000ft away.

"Another Thomson plane was also flying into (Sharm El Sheikh) at the same time and saw the rocket.

"The crew were told the rocket was from an Egyptian military exercise, but with what has happened there is a lot of fear. The incident left staff petrified."

A government spokesman said: "We investigated the reported incident at the time and concluded that it was not a targeted attack and was likely to be connected to routine exercises being conducted by the Egyptian military in the area at the time."

A Thomson spokesman said: "Thomson Airways can confirm that an event was reported by the crew of flight TOM 476 on 23 August 2015.

"Upon landing into Sharm el-Sheikh, an initial assessment was conducted and the event was immediately reported to the UK Department for Transport (DfT) in line with established protocol.

"The DfT conducted a full investigation in conjunction with other UK government experts. After reviewing the details of the case, the investigation concluded that there was no cause for concern and it was safe to continue our flying programme to Sharm-el Sheikh."

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