British Airways has apologised to passengers on board a flight to Valencia that had to be evacuated on landing.

The BA422 service from Heathrow on Monday was said to have experienced a “technical issue”, according to the airline after the cabin filled with smoke.

The problem occurred shortly before landing at around 3pm and passengers had to use the emergency chutes on landing to exit the Airbus A321.

BA confirmed three passengers were taken to hospital but were later discharged.

One passenger, Rachel Jupp, who works on the BBC Panorama current affairs programme told the broadcaster that smoke was also in the cockpit and the pilots had to wear gas masks.

She said white smoke started coming out of the aircraft’s ventilation system and there was no official announcement about what was happening.

BA said staff remained in the airport to assist the 175 passengers in the terminal after the evacuation.

Passengers described the incident as “like a horror film” and “terrifying” and they claimed cabin crew struggled to open emergency exits after landing.

Delayed customers were offered overnight accommodation as BA brought in an alternative aircraft to operate the route.