Belfast airport passengers stranded after truck collides with packed plane
Dozens of passengers - including a party of 34 teenage female footballers and IFA officials - were stranded at Belfast International Airport yesterday after a de-icing truck collided with an easyJet plane.
The aircraft was being de-iced before taking off on a scheduled flight to Amsterdam when the incident occurred.
The plane had been supposed to leave at 3pm, but had already been delayed for two hours.
Passengers were aboard the aircraft and looking forward to take off after the delay, when the truck hit the plane while it was on the tarmac.
An airport spokesperson told reporters that fire crews and police were alerted to the collision, as is standard practice.
Long queues formed in the airport afterwards, with many later flights also delayed.
The soccer girls were heading to Rotterdam to take part in European Under 14 and Under 17 training camp events.
But last night, parents were making the journey to Aldergrove to pick up their daughters, while others were going home by taxi.
A source close to the team said: "It's been a nightmare."
By 10.30pm last night, Head Coach Alfie Wylie was still at the airport, working to ensure his young players got home safely.
One of the passengers, posting on Facebook, said: "The man driving the de-icing truck at Belfast International should've gone to Specsavers.
"About to taxi and he crashed into our engine. Flight cancelled.
"EasyJet staff as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. Not going to be off on holidays tomorrow after all," she wrote.
The airline said: "EasyJet can confirm that flight EZY6773 from Belfast to Amsterdam on November 20 was cancelled due to a technical issue resulting from an airport vehicle accidentally hitting the aircraft during boarding.
"The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is always easyJet's highest priority.
"The Captain kept the passengers informed and they were given the option of being rebooked onto the next available flight or obtain a refund.
"EasyJet offered meals and hotel accommodation to passengers requiring them. EasyJet would like to apologise to all passengers for any inconvenience caused."