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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 21:29 GMT 22:29 UK
Holiday plane's emergency landing
A British Boeing 737 packed with 144 holidaymakers heading to Leeds has been forced to make an emergency landing.

The British owned Astraeus plane was carrying passengers from Menorca when the pilot requested the landing at Brest-Guipavas airport in France.

A spokesman for Leeds Bradford Airport said the request was made after an alarm in the cockpit alerted the pilot to a potential loss of cabin pressure.

Oxygen masks were deployed in the cabin but all passengers are said to be fine.

The AEU952 flight from Mahon was cruising at its normal altitude of 36,000ft when a technical fault within the aircraft's pressurisation system activated the alarm.

Oxygen masks

The flight crew followed routine emergency drills which included donning their own oxygen masks as the cabin pressure fell and a rapid descent was initiated.

At that time the plane was 60km west of Brest so the pilot made his request to land.

"During this time as the cabin pressure levels fell, the passenger oxygen masks automatically deployed and passengers were directed by the cabin crew to use them," the spokesman said.

The aircraft landed safely at Brest at 1830 BST.

A replacement aircraft was sent to collect the passengers, which safely arrived at Leeds Bradford airport at 0045 BST.

The original aircraft will remain at Brest until a full engineering examination has been carried out.

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