Flight from Stansted Airport to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt flew within 300 metres of missile

A plane takes off.

A plane takes off. - Credit: Archant

A Thomson Airways flight which took off from Stansted Airport heading to Sharm el-Sheikh in August had to take evasive action to avoid a missile, the Government has confirmed.

Flight TOM 476 left the Essex airport on August 23 carrying 189 passengers to the Egyptian holiday destination when a rocket came within 300 metres of the aircraft, as it was approaching its destination.

The crew of flight TOM 476 landed the plane safely and passengers were not advised of the incident.

However, the Government said it did not believe the incident was an act of terrorism.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport (DFT) said: “We investigated the reported incident at the time and concluded that it was not a targeted attack and was likely to be connected to routine exercises being conducted by the Egyptian military in the area at the time.”

A spokesperson for Thomson Airways said the incident was immediately reported to the DFT.

“Thomson Airways can confirm that an event was reported by the crew of flight TOM 476 on August 23, 2015.

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“Upon landing into Sharm el-Sheikh, an initial assessment was conducted and the event was immediately reported to the UK Department for Transport (DfT) in line with established protocol.

“The DfT conducted a full investigation in conjunction with other UK Government experts. After reviewing the details of the case, the investigation concluded that there was no cause for concern and it was safe to continue our flying programme to Sharm el Sheikh.”

The information comes after a Russian airplane crashed, allegedly brought down by a bomb, in the Sinai desert on October 31.

It is likely that flights will not resume to Sharm for another two weeks, however airlines are flying stranded passengers home from Egypt.