Dursley man recalls how he thought he was going to die on easyJet flight
7:20am Tuesday 24th December 2013 in News
A NIGHTMARE flight from Bristol to Edinburgh left a Dursley man thinking he was going to die when the plane was hit by severe weather and unable to land after three attempts.
Whiteway resident Adam Siolo, 41, was due to arrive in Scotland with colleague Simon Allen, 37, to attend an exhibition but they never made it to their destination.
The father-of-three said that, despite being a regular flyer with over 250 flights under his belt, the experience had left him shaken.
The sales manager for a Stonehouse-based skip hire and waste management firm said the day had started as normal after picking up Mr Allen in Tewkesbury before checking in, boarding the plane and falling asleep.
“I was quite alarmed when I woke up to find the plane shaking violently from side to side and up and down as we started to descend,” he said.
“I was used to heavy turbulence and dropping from air pockets whilst frequently flying over the Spanish mountains but this was different. The plane would not level itself.”
He explained to the Gazette that as the plane came in to land it was shaking so much from the strong winds and heavy rain that the pilot suddenly aborted the landing and pulled the plane back up into the sky, causing many people to scream and some to throw up.
The second attempt was no better according to Mr Siolo who said the Airbus A319, which was carrying 134 passengers and six crew, was “rocking and rolling all over the place”.
This attempt was also aborted, with more screams and shouts as the plane was hoisted back into the air.
The pilot then announced over the speaker system that they were aborting the flight and heading to Newcastle International Airport.
But that was not the end of the drama, as they were still flying through ever-worsening conditions when the plane was struck by lightning.
“All of a sudden there was a massive boom and I mean massive. There was also a great big red flash which came off the wing,” said Mr Siolo.
“That was it for the passengers. People were crying, two people passed out, people were clasping their hands in the praying position. At that point your mind starts to think about the negatives like have we got enough fuel?"
On arriving at Newcastle the plane went through its third aborted landing and Mr Siolo said it was at this point he did not think they were going to make it.
But the plane safely landed after bouncing on the tarmac on its fourth attempt to the applause of passengers.
Mr Siolo and Mr Allen decided to return home after their ordeal and rented a car with two other passengers and on the drive home they all admitted to at some stage thinking they were not going to make it.
"There are some people on that flight who will never fly again. It was pretty tense," said Mr Siolo.
easyJet spokeswoman Carly O’Donnell said the aircraft is equipped to safely withstand lightning and at no point was the safety of the flight compromised on Thursday, December 5.
“easyJet would like to apologise to passengers for any inconvenience caused."