Virgin Atlantic flight VS251 carrying Olympic diver Tom Daley and his team-mates including Sarah Barrow and Tonia Couch, had to make an emergency landing at a military base in the Russian city of Irkutsk on July 21.
The decision to make an emergency landing occurred after a technical issue developed with the Airbus A346, after it departed from Pudong International Airport, China, at 11.40am. It was scheduled to land at London Heathrow at 4.34 p.m.
At first, the pilot decided to land in a river. He was eventually able to reach an airstrip at a Russian army camp. There were 283 passengers and 12 crew members aboard at the time of incident; all of them remained unhurt.
The airline later released a statement saying, “Virgin Atlantic can confirm that the VS251 travelling from Shanghai to London Heathrow has diverted to Irkutsk Airport, Russia, as a precautionary measure due to a technical issue…Safety and security is always our top priority…The aircraft is currently on the ground and our customers are being looked after by our cabin crew. Our priority now is to ensure our customers resume their journey as soon as possible…The airline would like to thank passengers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
The English divers were returning after diving at the World Cup in Shanghai. They are also scheduled to participate in the upcoming Commonwealth Games at Glasgow 2014.