Friday, April 06, 2012

Passengers describe frightening plane plunge

A COUPLE have described the moment when they heard the captain of their Ryanair plane yelling “Mayday” after a depressurisation incident in the cabin.

Melvin Frater and his wife Jacqueline, from Nottingham, were flying back from Milan to East Midlands Airport when they heard a “bang” followed by a rush of cold air.

Three people were taken to hospital for precautionary examination following the incident last Wednesday, Ryanair confirmed.

Mr Frater said: “We were approximately 20 minutes into the flight when we felt and heard a bang, followed by a rush of very cold air, rushing by our feet, from the front to the back of the plane, Mr Frater said.

“This was immediately followed by the deployment of the oxygen masks and the plane began to make a rapid descent.”

Mr Frater said children and babies started to cry, but passengers remained calm and followed the safety procedures.

He said he could see snow-covered mountains “approaching fast” out of the windows of flight FR 1703, which was carrying 134 passengers.

He said: “It was quite strange that, unlike the scenes of panic and screaming which accompany cinema portrayals of such situations, there was initially a real sense of calm and quiet – we just followed safety procedures.

“The captain could then be heard over the speaker system – whether this was supposed to be heard by the passengers I do not know – but it was very unnerving to hear him say something like: ‘We are making an emergency descent due to loss of cabin pressure. Mayday!’”

He said once the plane had levelled out, the air crew told them the oxygen masks were no longer needed.

The plane was diverted to Frankfurt Hahn airport, where they were later transferred to a different plane and flown back to East Midlands Airport. In a statement, Ryanair apologised to passengers for the incident.

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