A Florida-bound American Airlines flight left passengers terrified after it dropped by more than 15,000 feet in 3 minutes.
American Airlines flight 5916 headed to Gainesville, Florida departed from Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday when crew members reported a potential pressurization issue according to the Federal Aviation Administration. According to FlightAware, the plane’s altitude dropped by almost 20,000 feet in a matter of 11 minutes.
The incident happened around 43 minutes into the flight. Fortunately, the flight landed safely at its destination. There were also no injuries reported as a result of the incident.
University of Florida Professor Harrison Hove, who was a passenger on the plane, posted on social media and described what happened during the flight as “terrifying.”
Hove said that “I’ve flown a lot. This was scary.” He added, “Kudos to our amazing flight crew-cabin staff and pilots on American Air 5916. The photos cannot capture the burning smell, loud bang or ear pops.”
Hove wrote, “Something failed midflight and depressurized the cabin.” He then added, “The burning smell can be apparently be attributed to using the oxygen canisters. The wing flaps came out to immediately lower our altitude so there would be more oxygen. It was terrifying but turned out ok.”
Pilots usually try to get below 10,000 feet whenever a pressurization issue occurs. That’s because air is thinner in higher altitude.
An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed that the sudden drop in the plane’s altitude was because of a pressurization issue.
The spokesperson said, “American Eagle flight 5916, operated by Piedmont Airlines, from Charlotte (CLT) to Gainesville, Florida (GNV) landed safely in GNV on Thursday, August 10. While in flight, the crew received an indication of a possible pressurization issue and immediately and safely descended to a lower altitude. “
The airline’s spokesperson then apologized to the passengers affected by the incident. The spokesperson said, “We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience and thank our team for their professionalism.”