A Virgin Atlantic Airbus A330 bound from London Gatwick airport to Orlando, USA, turned back to Gatwick, landing a little less than 2h after its 10:48 local time take-off.
The aircraft was stopped on the runway and all 299 passengers and 13 crew evacuated via its emergency slides. Gatwick has closed the aircraft to all traffic until further notice, and the aircraft has not yet been towed clear.
Virgin Atlantic says the captain decided to turn back "for technical reasons", but would not provide details. The captain ordered the evacuation on landing, according to the airline.
There are no visible external signs of damage to the aircraft. An unconfirmed press report says a passenger reported seeing smoke coming from the cockpit area.
© Peter Rawlinson