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US-bound flight returns after crew discovers two windows missing

In a big setback to passenger’s safety, a plane flying from London Stansted Airport to Orlando International Airport, Florida, was found to have two of its windows missing by a crew member. When the crew member made the discovery of the issue, the plane was at an altitude of 14,500 feet.The scary incident which happened in October, has come to the fore after an investigation by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

In a big setback to passenger’s safety, a plane flying from London Stansted Airport to Orlando International Airport, Florida, was found to have two of its windows missing by a crew member. (X(formerly Twitter)/@aaibgovuk)

On the Airbus A321 jet, there were 11 crew members and nine passengers when the incident happened, according to a report by the Independent. The aircraft was operated by Titan Airways and used by TCS World Travel, a US-based luxury holiday company.

As per AAIB, the issue was discovered after the plane’s take-off when the seatbelt signs were switched off and the crew member walked towards the rear of the aircraft. The crew member found that the seal around one of the windows was “flapping”. After investigation, it was revealed that the foam used to keep the windows in place had either melted due to high temperatures or was missing.

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The report highlights that that the incident took place a day after the plane was used for filming on the ground. As per AAIB, powerful lights used in the filming, damaged the windows. AAIB shared the lights were designed to be used at least 10 metres from the object being illuminated. But on the day of the filming, the distance between the lights and the plane’s windows was between six metres and nine metres.

Although the plane’s cabin had remained pressurised normally despite the issue, AAIB highlighted the incident could have led to “more serious consequences”.

“Whereas in this case the damage became apparent at around FL100 (10,000 feet) and the flight was concluded uneventfully, a different level of damage by the same means might have resulted in more serious consequences, especially if window integrity was lost at higher differential pressure,” the report read.

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