Virgin Atlantic B747-400 (G0VXLG) flight VS66 from Montego Bay Jamaica suffers bird attack. Pilot re-routes to Jamaica in emergency landing with 470 London-headed passengers, after Orlando Airport rejects landing request. Pilot defuels plane from 23,000 ft to enable emergency landing back to Jamaica.

Frantic passengers aboard a Virgin Atlantic VS66 flight from Jamaica’s Montego Bay to London’s Gatwick Airport were left no choice but to trust their life with the pilot, forced to make an emergency landing after a bird struck and stuck into it’s engine.

In reassuring message (attached audio and video clip), the pilot announced to terrified  passengers his resort to defuelling the plane mid-air to enable emergency landing back to Jamaica and not Orlando International Airport where visa restrictions was cited as grounds of refusal to land.


The plane’s flight map at time of bird-attack incident.

Plane's flight map

The pilot de-fuelled the plane for about 45 minutes to lighten its weight to enable landing back at smaller capacity Sangster International Airport @ Montego Bay Jamaica than Orlando International Airport would have managed. It was rough landing back (attached clip) at Montego Bay with terrified passengers, later relieved for the ordeal to not have ended in disaster.

A Ugandan passenger aboard the plane shared audio of her experience and video of other passenger aghast at America’s rejection for plane to land at Orlando which had the space and technical capacity to resolve the technical problem.

Thankfully plane and all aboard landed intact and passengers spent night in Montego and have today arrived safely in the UK.

The Ugandan aboard the plane shared her photos at Montego Bay’s gates as she prepared for journey back to London, before disaster struck about an hour midair, into the 9 hour journey.

Montego bay gate