Published on Thursday, April 17, 2014
Monarch Airlines has launched an investigation after a pilot told passengers there were problems with the plane that could have led them to 'a watery grave'.
The flight from Tobago to Gatwick was plagued by technical problems which led to passengers returning to London three days later than scheduled.
The initial delay was caused by a problem with the plane's reverse thrusters which the pilot compared to a fault experienced by a Thai flight which flipped over in 1999, killing all 213 people on board.
As passengers boarded the plane the following day, the pilot explained that, if not repaired, it could have led them all to a 'quick watery grave'.
To make matters worse, the flight then had to make an emergency landing in Barbados after the pilot reported seeing smoke in the cockpit.
One of the passengers on the delayed Monarch flight, Mike Bloxam, wrote on Facebook: "Safety is of course the most paramount consideration. But to mention planes flipping over and watery graves as you wait to take off is totally unacceptable."
Monarch Airlines admitted in a statement that the pilot used an "an inappropriate choice of words".
It added that the airline is writing to customers to let them know the findings of the investigation and to discuss their options for compensation.
It said: "The aircraft experienced a technical issue before departure from Tobago, which was subsequently rectified by engineers before the aircraft was cleared for operation.
"Shortly after the re-scheduled take off, a further technical issued was identified by the captain and the aircraft was immediately diverted to Barbados where customers disembarked and were transferred to hotel accommodation.
"It's clear that the Captain took the correct action to ensure the safety of all on board flight MON368. However, we accept that the captain used an inappropriate choice of words and he has expressed his regret at his choice of references."
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