A SkyWest plane had to perform an emergency landing in New York on April 22 after several passengers accused breathing problems, while others even lost consciousness. But the company reported Thursday that there was nothing wrong with the airplane and no pressurization problems were detected.
However, the airline lauded pilots for acting by the book and quickly descending the plane to 10,000 feet where oxygen levels posed no threat to passengers’ life. Federal flight inspectors failed to provide a valid explanation on what may have happened on the aircraft Wednesday.
SkyWest Flight 5622 which was catering for the United Express airline took off from the Chicago’s O’Hare airport via Bradley International Airport, having on board 75 passengers. Yet, the craft had to make a steep descend shortly after reaching the 37,000-foot altitude because several passengers reported feeling ill and the crew called for an emergency landing. On Wednesday morning, the plane landed at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
According to the company’s report, the crew decided to perform the emergency landing because some passengers reported feeling sick, but none of the safety instruments reported that there was something wrong with the plane. An official from the airline described the incident as a “big mystery.”
Larry Johnson, one of the passengers who had reported feeling ill that morning, said it had breathing difficulties when the plane reached 37,000 feet, although oxygen masks were not deployed.
Mr. Johnson also said that the crew told passengers that there was a leak and pressurization problems so pilots had to perform an emergency landing. The crew also told them that becoming lightheaded was normal and there was no reason to panic.
According to the man, he and other passengers that reported breathing problems were given oxygen.
“None of the air vents were working, and it was hard to breathe. You just felt that your chest was caving in, and then the plane descended so rapidly and that didn’t help,”
Mr. Johnson also said.
He also stated that both he and his girlfriend felt dizzy and everything around them seemed bright and they saw dots whenever they blinked.
SkyWest inspectors and local authorities reported Thursday that there was “absolutely nothing wrong” with the plane. They also said that nothing pointed out that air failed to come out from the vents or that there was something wrong with the cabin’s air handling system.
Air traffic controllers reported that they saw the plane making a steep descend, losing altitude at a pace of 7,000 feet every minute. Federal officials reported that none of the pilots found a pressurization problem, oxygen masks didn’t drop either, while on-board instruments reported a 8,000-foot pressure, which was not life-threatening.
Moreover, inspectors found no trace of a gas leak, no awkward smell nor evidence that a door was not properly sealed.
In the cockpit, there were three pilots. One of them was there to evaluate the other two pilots’ flying skills.
U.S. officials and the Utah-based airline said that the flight attendant and 14 passengers that reported feeling ill were further evaluated quickly after landing but no treatment was required. According to the airline, three people fainted during that flight.
Image Source: NBC News