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Emergency landing disrupts flights
Flights in and out of Gatwick Airport have been suspended after a plane made a full emergency landing amid reports of a small fire on board.
Virgin Atlantic said the Airbus A330 bound for Orlando in Florida was forced to return and make the landing as a precautionary measure due to a "technical problem".
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service said it was called at 12.21pm to reports of a "small fire on board an aircraft", which had made a full emergency landing. A spokeswoman said six fire appliances were called to the scene.
The plane made a safe landing with emergency services on stand-by, and passengers were disembarked, a Gatwick Airport spokeswoman said.
She said: "A Virgin A330 left Gatwick at 10.48am bound for Orlando but returned to make an emergency landing at 12.30 due to reports of a technical issue. The aircraft made a safe landing, the emergency services are on the scene and passengers have been safely disembarked from the plane. All flights in and out of Gatwick are currently suspended until further notice."
Virgin Atlantic confirmed that flight VS27 from Gatwick to Orlando had returned to the airport and been evacuated. It said the Airbus A330-300 aircraft had 13 crew and 299 passengers on board.
In a statement, the airline said: "Due to a technical problem on board the aircraft, the captain decided as a precautionary measure to immediately evacuate the aircraft. Our teams at Gatwick are now looking after our passengers and assisting with their immediate requirements. The safety and welfare of our crew and passengers is Virgin Atlantic's top priority."
The incident caused knock-on delays to other airlines operating in and out of Gatwick - some incoming flights have been diverted, with some now landing at Stansted Airport in Essex instead.
A Gatwick spokeswoman said take-offs and landings had resumed at about 2pm after a stoppage of about one hour and 45 minutes. She went on: "There will be some delays for a time."
Virgin Atlantic said later that there were "four minor injuries" in the incident but all passengers and crew had safely disembarked. A spokeswoman said: "Our teams at Gatwick are now offering full support, looking after our passengers and assisting with their immediate requirements. Virgin Atlantic is working closely with the authorities to establish the cause of this incident."