Students heading to Ireland.

A group of 240 children heading to Ireland from Valencia to study English this summer, were forced to endure a 13-hour delay in Palma yesterday after the plane in which they were due to travel suffered mechanical problems after a bird hit one of the engines. The pilot was forced to divert the flight to Palma after takeoff from Valencia and the plane landed at 2.45am, but it took the airline 13 hours to find another aircraft. The students, aged between 10 and 17, had already taken off from Valencia three and a half hours late at 1.30. The students and the teachers were guided into Terminal B at 3am and many of the younger kids tried to sleep while there was talk of a hotel being found. According to the airline, the teachers rejected the offer of hotel accommodation, but according to one of the teachers, a hotel with sufficient spare bed space could not be located and they were given sandwiches and blankets for the night in the terminal. All of the teachers and the students have signed a compensation form and, according to the teachers, lawyers are looking into whether or not there are grounds for legal action. The group should have landed in Ireland at 2am yesterday morning where families and coaches would have been waiting. Some of the students told of how, as they flew over Zaragoza, the captain informed the passengers that the plane had hit something and that it would have to divert to Palma where Spanair has its headquarters. Teachers said that many of the children had been rattled by the experience, but all 240 finally continued on their journey.


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