The South East Coast Ambulance Service tonight confirmed that fifteen people were transferred to hospital with various injuries after a plane made an emergency landing at Gatwick Airport.

The Virgin Atlantic aircraft had been forty minutes into a flight heading for Florida in the USA, when the pilot decided to turn back because of a technical issue on Monday lunchtime. This is what Steve Ridgeway the airline's Chief Executive had to say:

Specialist response teams were despatched to the runway on the aeroplane's arrival at Gatwick's North Terminal, including ambulances and patient transport service vehicles. There were three hundred passengers and crew on board. The aeroplane's emergency chutes were deployed for the evacuation. Paramedics and clinicians assessed and treated patients with injuries acquired while they were leaving the plane.

On Monday evening the South East Coast Ambulance Service confirmed what had happened during their part of the emergency response.

"A total of 15 patients were transferred to hospital, 14 of which went to two major trauma centres, at St George's Hospital and Royal Sussex County Hospital, suffering from suspected fractures. "Planned treatment of all patients with major injuries at designated specialist centres is a new system that was implemented across England on April 2 this year. This was the first time that the system had been tested with a significant incident of this nature." "We are very pleased to say that the system worked extremely well and that we were able to maintain our normal service to members of the public whilst dealing with this incident and ensuring that all patients affected received appropriate treatment."