ADVER picture editor Stuart Harrison’s holiday got off to a dramatic start when his plane made an emergency landing.
His flight to Madeira was forced to land in Portugal – hours after he tweeted a picture of the plane as a joke in case it went missing.
On Monday the Cricklade photographer departed for a two-week trip of summer sunshine.
But the Monarch plane, which flew out of Birmingham, was forced to make an emergency landing in Faro, on the Portuguese mainland – almost 600 miles short of its destination – because of problems with the hydraulics.
Nobody was injured in the incident, but despite Stuart’s extensive experience dealing with emergency situations, the landing left him reconsidering air travel in the future.
Once at Faro, he then had to wait for several hours before finally reaching Madeira.
In an email from Madeira, Stuart said: “We arrived in Madeira at 5pm on Tuesday, 27 hours after leaving Birmingham.
“The aircraft made an emergency landing in Faro with hydraulic failure with fire engines following the aircraft down the runway.
“Quite a scary experience. The problem then was waiting for the aircraft to be repaired because there was no spare aircraft to take us on to Madeira.
“The airline didn’t give us any real information about how long the repair would take. Anyway here now.”
Ironically, shortly before taking off from Birmingham, Stuart had taken a picture of the Monarch plane and uploaded it to social media network Twitter.
Alongside it, he tweeted: “Just in case this aircraft goes missing with me on it the @swindonadver could use this on page 32 as a picture story.”
Around 320 people – mostly British tourists – were affected by the emergency landing and then had to spend the night at a hotel in Faro, according to regional online newspaper Sulfinformação.
The disruption also affected passengers waiting in Madeira to fly back to Birmingham.
Monarch and airport authorities have not yet commented, although the airline was expected to provide updates on the work to the plane’s hydraulics.
The flight had been scheduled to land at 6.10pm in Madeira, according to news reports, when the crew noticed that something was wrong and decided to play it safe by diverting to Faro.
The plane circled the airport in order to use up fuel and reduce the risk of any accidents during the landing.
Although the airport is said to have entered “yellow alert”, the emergency went smoothly, with an easy landing.