Fuel Leak Plane Landed Safely

Pilots of a UK-bound holiday flight with some 200 passengers on board managed to land safely after losing more than a ton of fuel from an engine leak, an air accident report revealed today.

Considerable amounts of fuel lay on the runway at Gatwick Airport after the Thomas Cook Boeing 757 touched down following a flight from Bodrum in Turkey, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report said.

The captain estimated that about 2,860lb (1,300kg) of fuel had leaked from the left engine - an RB211 Rolls-Royce engine.

The airfield was closed to all movements after the incident in the early hours of June 12 last year.

A fuel warning sign had come on as the aircraft, with 226 passengers and eight crew on board, entered French airspace about two hours and 20 minutes into the flight, the report said.

The captain considered diverting to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport but decided to alert Gatwick in West Sussex and the plane was cleared for an immediate approach and was able to land normally.

The Gatwick fire chief advised that passengers evacuate using the right-hand side slides only ``due to the considerable amount of fuel spilled on the runway, taxiway, left engine and brakes'', the report said.

Maintenance engineers later traced the source of the fuel leak to a pipe coupling at the fuel pump on the left engine.

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