An airliner was forced to return to Gatwick due to an emergency just six minutes after take-off.

EasyJet flight 8565 performed a dramatic u-turn in the sky after a "passenger welfare issue" while 11,000 feet above Sussex.

The incident led to chaos within the airline running well into the night, causing another flight to be cancelled.

The Argus: The route of the flightThe route of the flight (Image: ADSBexchange)

The Airbus A321 was on its way to Dalaman Airport in Turkey, with up to 235 passengers en route to the sunny holiday destination at 3.10pm on Monday.

But at 3.16pm the pilots of the flight decided to declare an emergency while flying over Edenbridge and return to Gatwick.

A spokesman for the airline's operations control said the incident was an "extraordinary circumstance" and out of its control as air traffic control was made aware of their emergency by using the squawk code 7700. This code lets controllers on the ground know the plane is experiencing a problem and needs to land quickly.

This can range from engine failure and fuel problems to medical emergencies.

One passenger waiting for a flight at Gatwick said "fire and rescue vehicles" were "getting ready" at the airport ahead of the plane's return.

The aircraft turned around over Tonbridge in Kent before making the approach to runway 26L at Gatwick.

It touched down ten minutes after declaring the emergency and taxiied to stand 131 near the North Terminal.


Flight tracking software ADSBexchange captured the incident as it unfolded, showing the aircraft doing a giant figure of eight above the region.

Sunseekers and travellers were still able to make their way to the Turkish destination later on, as EasyJet ran a later flight departing shortly before 5.30. It arrived shortly before midnight in Dalaman at 11.37pm.

Guidance on EasyJet's website suggests that passengers delayed by more than two hours are entitled to a £3 refreshment voucher.

Passengers hoping to travel on EasyJet's Monday night flight to Dalaman were also left stranded at Gatwick as the airline cancelled the flight which was set to depart at 9.45pm.

A spokesman said this was due to an "earlier medical emergency which led to a diversion."

Disrupted passengers had options to switch to another flight for free, receive a voucher for their ticket value, or request a refund.

A spokeswoman for EasyJet said: "We can confirm that flight EZY8565 from London Gatwick to Dalaman on 3 July returned from airborne due to a passenger onboard requiring urgent medical assistance.

"Paramedics met the aircraft on arrival in London Gatwick and the flight continued to Dalaman later that evening. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority.”

The Argus: Dalaman Airport International TerminalDalaman Airport International Terminal (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Easyjet's route to Dalaman has been plagued with issues over the last week. Holidaymaker Ricky Medcalf told The Independent his flight to Turkey on Saturday was delayed by three hours and then cancelled.

He was placed on the same flight the following day but this was also cancelled, after spending the night in a hotel room at his own expense.

And EasyJet told The Independent that they will not be compensating him for the delay, as the flights were grounded due to "air-traffic control restrictions."

The spokesman added: "While air traffic restrictions are outside of our control, we fully understand the frustration for customers who experienced both cancellations and we are sorry for the inconvenience this will have caused."