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Nova Scotia

Technical issue on British Airways flight forces precautionary landing

Boeing 787 diverted to Halifax en route to London

A British Airways flight was diverted to Halifax en route to London’s Heathrow Airport on Wednesday night after the airline reported a technical problem on board.

Flight 216 departed Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC at 6:49 p.m. Eastern Time and was only about an hour and a half before touching down in Halifax.

A passenger on the flight was Paul John Bayfield, a photojournalist from Great Britain

“I only got up to go to the bathroom quickly and it was immediately clear that the plane’s air brakes had deployed because there was a rapid deceleration,” he said. “You wouldn’t expect that at this altitude because we were at 40,000 feet and they hit the brakes immediately.”

After that, the pilot told us the plane was going to land in Halifax, Bayfield said.

“The crew then put on their fluorescent gear and started directing people to their seats — they just went into practice mode,” he said. “There have been reports of many people seeing and smelling smoke.”

The plane landed safely at 9:30 p.m. and proceeded to the terminal, said Leah Batstone, a spokeswoman for Halifax International Airport.

“Our emergency services team was ready to respond if needed,” she said. All people on board were safely evacuated, she said.

Upon reaching the terminal, a crew with forward-looking infrared cameras (FLIR) came on board, and Bayfield recognized them immediately from their work.

“They were looking for hotspots behind panels,” he said. “So it was definitely an electrical short or something like that.”

The aircraft was a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, manufactured in 2016. Boeing did not respond when asked for comment.

British Airways said in an email that the flight did not make an emergency landing but landed “as a precautionary measure due to a technical problem”.

We apologize to customers for the disruption to their journey and are working hard to get them back on track as soon as possible,” the airline said.

The airline sent another plane to take passengers to London. Bayfield said her new flight was scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Ella McDonald

Ella McDonald

Ella Macdonald (she/she) is an aspiring video reporter and photojournalist with an interest in world affairs and health reporting. Originally from BC, she is a mountain bike athlete and avid skier.

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