A TECHNICAL fault forced an airbus full of holidaymakers to circle Wigan before returning to land at Manchester Airport.
Onlookers were shocked to see the huge plane so low over the town after it had left Manchester Airport earlier that day.
It had its landing gear down as it circled the area.
One eye-witness said: “I couldn’t believe how low it was. It was just circling so at first I thought something could be wrong.”
The plane was a First Choice flight, heading to Fuerteventura.
A spokesperson for Thomson Airways, who own First Choice, said that a technical fault forced the plane to do an early U-turn.
She said: “Thomson Airways can confirm that flight TOM2662 travelling from Manchester to Fuerteventura on Saturday, March 10 (UK time), developed a technical fault shortly after take off. As a precautionary measure the flight turned back to Manchester Airport and landed at 5.28pm. (UK time).
“As soon as engineers became aware that the technical fault could not be rectified quickly, an alternative aircraft was sourced. In the mean time, Thomson Airways customers were offered welfare at Manchester Airport and a new aircraft was allocated as quickly as possible.
“The flight departed at 7.20pm (UK time) and landed in Fuerteventura just after 11pm (Local time) where re-arranged transfers were waiting to take customers to their holiday resorts. Flight-only customers were also provided with assistance upon arrival at Fuerteventura Airport.”
“Thomson Airways would like to reassure customers that their safety and wellbeing is the airline’s number one priority at all times and that technical faults and delays of this nature are extremely rare.”