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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK
Wales squad in emergency landing
Ryan Giggs leaves diverted aircraft
Ryan Giggs leads the Wales squad off the diverted plane
An aircraft taking the Wales football squad from Cardiff to Prague made an emergency landing in Bournemouth after the windscreen cracked.

The players, managers and press were on their way to Saturday's Euro 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic.

About 20 minutes into the flight it is thought a windscreen heater failed on the Boeing 737 causing the crack.

A replacement aircraft took off from Bournemouth at 1818 BST and finally arrived in Prague three hours late.

BBC journalist Aled ap Dafydd, who was on the plane, said after the object hit the windscreen, all the passengers went silent and the cabin crew were called to their stations.

The damaged windscreen
I've never had anything like this happen to me before in all my years travelling in football
John Toshack, Wales manager

Then the pilot told them the windscreen was malfunctioning and the plane would be diverted.

Fellow BBC Wales journalist Steve James said most people were relaxed about it, including Wales manager John Toshack.

Toshack told the BBC: "I wasn't really aware of what was happening so I wasn't worried.

"I've never had anything like this happen to me before in all my years travelling in football."

'No panic'

There were 73 people on board the charter flight which took off from Cardiff at around 1430 BST.

They were taken off at Bournemouth International Airport while charter company European Air Charter found them another plane.

An FAW spokesperson said: "There was a malfunction with the heater that stops the windscreen from icing up, with the result that the windscreen cracked. We had to look for the nearest airport to land which was Bournemouth.

"We weren't particularly aware of what the problem was.

"There was no bang or explosion or anything. The captain (of the plane) reported to us that there was an issue that they were going to resolve.

"The players were all right, they are still playing cards - it takes a lot to disrupt the card school. There was no panic or anything."

A spokesman for European Air Charter, which owns the plane, said the crack on the laminated window was likely to be a "stress crack" but could have been caused by a bird or a stone.

Ken Dyer from the charter firm said no-one had been in any danger.

He said: "We found them a replacement plane because it is easier to do that than replace the windscreen - you can't just call out Autoglass."

The plane's pilot, David Attwood, added: "These things happen very rarely, but when they do we are all trained to cope with the situation."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
"A cracked windscreen was causing a problem with the pressurisation"



SEE ALSO
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31 Aug 06 |  Internationals
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