Times reporter relives terrifying moment plane ‘seemed to drop’

A Shetland Times reporter got more than he bargained for when he boarded a flight to the isles from Inverness.

Keegan Murray described the terrifying moment the aircraft dropped after hitting turbulence. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Keegan Murray was onboard the evening service from Inverness to Kirkwall and Sumburgh when the plane “just seemed to drop”.

Mr Murray had been in the Highland capital at the weekend for a stag party, but the incident, sparked by high winds – or “hellish turbulence” – on his return journey gave Mr Murray something else to think about.

In a tweet sent out after the incident, he praised the flight crew for their handling of the episode, and explaining the reasons behind it.

But he had less than favourable things to say about a member of staff at Kirkwall Airport who, he said, was rude and unhelpful to highly shaken passengers.

“There was a moment when the plane just seemed to drop, and everyone was almost out of their seats,” he said.

“There was hellish turbulence and it was pretty terrifying. For a second, you did kind of think the plane was going down.”

He said the plane made two unsuccessful attempts to land at Sumburgh but was forced to divert back to Kirkwall after the blustery weather meant it could not touch down.

“We tried to land at Sumburgh twice, but the winds were too strong, and they couldn’t attempt it a third time.

“The crew, the pilot and air hostess, were all brilliant,” he added. “They were very good.

“The air hostess was going up and handing out water to people who were feeling unwell.”


There was hellish turbulence and it was pretty terrifying. For a second, you did kind of think the plane was going down. KEEGAN MURRAY


However, he said passengers who had been badly shaken up by the experience were given a less than sympathetic response at Kirkwall Airport.

“We got to Orkney, and there was a boy who was really sick. He was tensed up. We mentioned this to people at Orkney Airport, that he was quite unwell and needed to see a doctor.

“One of the members of staff at Kirkwall Airport was rude to him. We’d mentioned to him that he might need to go and see a doctor, but he was pretty abrupt.”

Tweeting about the incident later, Mr Murray stated: “Huge thanks to pilot and crew on Inverness to Shetland flight. Handled terrifying situation with professionalism, helped put us at ease.

“Same can’t be said for one particular member of airport staff at Kirkwall who was pretty rude to a group of clearly shaken passengers.”

Loganair said in a statement: “Flight BE6963 departed Inverness at 17.40 carrying 29 passengers and three crew.

“After a short stop-off at Kirkwall, the Saab 340 aircraft departed for Sumburgh however, wind conditions over Shetland increased considerably, causing quite significant turbulence on-board.

“The wind-speed also exceeded limits for landing at Sumburgh and following procedure, the pilots returned to Kirkwall. Our crew is extensively trained for this type of scenario, touching down safely in Kirkwall until winds subsided and arriving in Shetland two hours later than scheduled at 21.27.”

Kirkwall Airport said no complaint had been made about a member of staff’s attitude to passengers.


Add Your Comment
  • Peter Long

    • April 25th, 2017 14:01

    What’s the good of handing out water? Surely those poor people needed a good dram after their ordeal!


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.