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Holidaymakers evacuated from planes hit out

PASSENGERS evacuated from two planes in separate incidents just over a week apart have told of their "terrifying" ordeals.

ANGER: Elizabeth Rush, pictured with husband John, was injured during evacuation. Picture: Colin Mearns
ANGER: Elizabeth Rush, pictured with husband John, was injured during evacuation. Picture: Colin Mearns

Lawyers have now been instructed by the passengers, who said they were injured in the incidents last month at Glasgow Airport involving Boeing aircraft, and have called on the manufacturer and aviation authorities to explain the cause and seek assurances such incidents happen again.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell said people were angry with the way the smoke alert incidents were handled.

Disabled Elizabeth Rush, 70, of Lanark, said she suffered a leg injury in the emergency evacuation due to smoke in the cabin of the Alicante-bound Boeing 737 on October 19.

She said: "It was an absolutely chaotic nightmare."

The retired nurse added: "I was pushed down the chute, no- one was there to catch me, then they started to come down on top of me. My leg's still sore."

Irwin Mitchell said it is to write to Thomas Cook, Jet2, Boeing and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) to release full details of their investigations so far.

Craig Gourlay, 35, from Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, said he and his wife Denise, 34, and son Ashton, four, struggled to see as thick smoke filled the cabin of a plane that had just landed at Glasgow Airport from Dalaman, Turkey on October 11.

The Boeing 757, operated by Thomas Cook, was evacuated on the runway. Mr Gourlay said: "It was truly terrifying. An air stewardess was screaming about a 'fire situation' so we moved as quickly as we could.

"I simply grabbed my son and jumped down the chute, but hurt my back on the tarmac at the bottom. My son has already said he doesn't want to fly again."

Jim Morris, a former RAF Boeing pilot and partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: "The air accident investigation should determine what caused the smoke incidents, with the aim of improving flight safety.

"Our clients will be seeking compensation from the entity responsible, which may result in litigation in the courts. We are determined to help them get the justice they deserve."

In a statement, Jet2.com said: "A full investigation has been carried out and we are awaiting the preliminary findings from the AAIB. While we deeply regret any distress caused to our customers as a result of this incident we would like to reiterate that all safety and evacuation procedures were executed to the highest standards by our crew on the day."

A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook said: "We understand the chutes at the rear of the plane were deployed in accordance with standard procedures to ensure the speediest route off of the aircraft for the remaining passengers. Our investigation is still ongoing."

Boeing said the AAIB "retains full control over the investigation, including communication with all stakeholders and the public".

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