Pilots of a Jet Airways flight “forgot” to turn on a cabin pressure switch and had to make an emergency return to the airport after passengers started to bleed from their noses and ears.
The Boeing 737 aircraft, which was carrying 166 passengers, landed safely. At least 30 passengers suffered ear and nose bleeds, NDTV reported on Thursday, Sept. 20.
Passengers on board Jet Airways flight 9W 697 from Mumbai to Jaipur captured video of the incident, showing frantic passengers and oxygen masks dangling from the ceiling.
An official with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that the crew forgot to press a button to pressurize the cabin, according to News 18 . “During the climb, the crew forgot to select the bleed switch due to which cabin pressurization could not be maintained, and oxygen masks got deployed,” the official said.
Jet Airways confirmed in a statement that Thursday morning’s flight had turned back “due to loss in cabin pressure” and “regretted” the inconvenience caused to its passengers.
“The B737 aircraft, with 166 guests and 5 crew landed normally in Mumbai. All guests were deplaned safely and taken to the terminal. First aid was administered to few guests who complained of ear pain, bleeding nose etc,” the statement said.
Jet Airways also said the cockpit crew has been taken off duty and that an investigation had been launched into the incident.
Passenger Darshak Hathi tweeted a video of the interior of the cabin as air pressure dropped and oxygen masks came down.
— Darshak Hathi (@DarshakHathi) September 20, 2018
Another passenger Satish Nair tweeted a picture of himself bleeding from the nose, and complained that “the safety of passengers had been completely ignored” by the airline.
“I saw many people having nose bleeds,” passenger Joel D’Souza told CNN. “I took off my oxygen mask for one second and felt so stuffy and hot in the cabin. There was no announcement by the crew and nobody knew what to do.”
— Joel D'Souza (@jdjoeld) September 20, 2018
This is not the first time an incident involving Jet Airways has made the news. In January 2018, the carrier grounded two pilots following reports of a fight inside the cockpit of a flight from London to Mumbai. The flight, which was carrying 324 passengers, landed safely.
Aircraft cabins are pressurized to replicate conditions that our bodies are used to on the ground.
Air at higher altitudes is thinner, so there is less oxygen to breathe, and drier, so it increases the likelihood of nose bleeds.