The sudden drop in cabin pressure on board the Jet Airways flight 9W 697 caused a situation of panic on Thursday, as people suddenly started feeling pain in their head and nose, with some of them bleeding from the nose and ear.
Mumbai resident Darshak Hathi (52), who was on his way to Jaipur for an official visit, said, “Within 10 minutes of takeoff, we started feeling suffocated. Oxygen masks were deployed but I'm not sure if there was any oxygen. We were calling out for the cabin crew, but even they were supposed to be masked under the circumstances,” Mr. Hathi, who is an international director with the Art Of Living foundation, said.
Of the 166 passengers aboard the flight which had to be recalled to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, 30 passengers were treated for various symptoms.
Officials said that while 25 of them were administered medical aid at the airport itself, five of them were taken to the Nanavati Hospital in Vile Parle. All of them were suffering from earache, headaches and bleeding from the nose.
Hospital authorities said five passengers were received between 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Dr. Rajendra Patankar, chief operating officer at the hospital, said, ”All the five were evaluated by our ENT consultant. They suffered barotrauma, a condition where physical damage is sustained by bodily tissues due to difference in pressure. They were bleeding from the nose and ear. The patients are stable and have been advised to avoid air travel for at least a week.”
Mumbai-based professional Prashant Sharma had never realised flying could be “so terrifying.”
There were screams and cries and many of his co-passengers suffered nose and ear bleeds.
According to 39-year-old Sharma, who was on an official trip, the terrifying experience began 5-10 minutes into the flight.
Oxygen masks deployed
As the plane climbed, oxygen masks got deployed from overhead compartments and the crew announced that the flight would return to Mumbai, triggering panic among some passengers.
“I was sitting on an aisle seat when suddenly air pressure in the cabin dropped and oxygen masks came down. I saw a passenger sitting next to me bleeding from nose. Several others complained of extreme pain in their ears,” Sharma said told PTI after he landed in Jaipur in an alternative flight.
“The crew announced that the plane will return...It then circled overhead for around half-an-hour before landing. There was no announcement (related to the problem) from the crew,” said another passenger.
Darshak Hati, who shot a video on board and posted it on social media, narrated a similar story.
“I hope that such a situation never occurs in the future. There was no mention of the incident in the first flight that took off later from Mumbai. The cabin crew just regretted the inconvenience and delay in the alternative flight,” Hathi said at the Jaipur airport.
(With inputs from PTI)
I never thought flying could be so terrifyingPrashant Sharma