Hundreds of Virgin Atlantic passengers en route from London's Heathrow Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport are relieved to have arrived at their intended destination after an emergency landing turned what was supposed to be an 8-hour flight into a 27-hour ordeal.
A suspected fuel leak aboard the Airbus A330-300 on Saturday forced flight VS25 to divert from its intended path as the jet approached the easternmost part of North America. Instead of arriving at JFK, the 250 passengers were ushered off at Gander International in Canada:
— Sara Davar (@sdavar) August 18, 2013
According to WABC, there were no hotels available for the stranded passengers, so "the airport became a makeshift campsite."
Anna Ninan, a passenger aboard the flight, told the station, "People were sleeping on the floor of the bathroom and on the counters in the bathroom, all over the floor in the airport."
Virgin Atlantic dispatched a replacement aircraft from London to Gander that delivered all the passengers to JFK at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. -- In a statement to The Huffington Post, Virgin Atlantic confirmed flight VS25 from London Heathrow to New York JFK was "diverted to Gander due to a technical fault."
All passengers and crew remained at Gander overnight on August 17th and a replacement aircraft took them to their destination the following day (August 18th).
The safety and welfare of passengers and crew is Virgin Atlantic's top priority.
The airline would like to thank passengers for their patience and apologize for the inconvenience caused. Due to the exceptional circumstances, as a gesture of goodwill we are offering all passengers a complimentary return flight with Virgin Atlantic for use at a later date.