A plane made an emergency landing at Gatwick and seriously injured two people because of “spurious warnings”, a report said.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report into an incident involving a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330 on April 16, 2012, was released yesterday.

It revealed 15 smoke warnings were issued during the flight, prompting the jet, bound for Orlando, Florida, to return to Gatwick 29 minutes after take-off.


However, the AAIB report said there was no evidence of fire, smoke or heat damage. The report said these warnings were “spurious”.

On returning to Gatwick, 304 passengers exited the craft via the emergency chutes. Two people, an adult and child, suffered injures which the report said were “serious”.

It said: “One adult and one child passenger received bone fractures during the evacuation.”

Describing the evacuation of people from the plane, the report said: “Many passengers were seen to land awkwardly at the bottom of the slide and one lady was observed to fall on to the tarmac.

“One man was injured at the bottom of a slide and was being attended by paramedics, which slowed the evacuation until he could be moved.”

Seven safety recommendations were made following the incident.

One stated: “It is recommended that the European Aviation Safety Agency amend ‘Passenger briefing’, to ensure briefings emphasise the importance of leaving hand baggage behind in an evacuation.”

In a statement, Virgin Atlantic said: “The safety of our passengers and crew is Virgin Atlantic’s top priority.

“We co-operated fully with the AAIB throughout the investigation and whilst the report makes no formal recommendations to the airline, we took many actions immediately after the event in order to identify any areas where we could enhance our procedures.

“Virgin Atlantic carries out all training to strict guidelines set by our regulators and we are very proud of the actions our crew took on the day.”