Emergency descent of Ryanair flight investigated in Germany

Sat, Apr 7, 2012, 01:00

A RYANAIR flight was forced into an emergency descent over the Swiss Alps, resulting in three passengers being taken to hospital last Wednesday. The incident is being investigated by German aviation experts.

In a statement following the incident, the second in two months involving the airline, Ryanair apologised to passengers but did not mention that anyone on board had been injured or affected.

Along with the three passengers who were treated in hospital, 10 others are understood to have been affected but did not require treatment.

Wednesday’s incident involved flight FR1703, which was flying from Bergamo airport in Italy to East Midlands airport in England with 134 passengers on board.

The flight was about 60km north of the Swiss town of Lugano and about to fly over the Swiss Alps when the aircraft suffered pressurisation problems.

The pilot was forced to deploy the passenger oxygen masks and carry out an emergency descent from 31,000ft to 10,000ft in accordance with standard procedures. The flight later diverted to Frankfurt Hahn airport in Germany and landed safely.

Passengers reported hearing the pilot call “mayday, mayday” over the PA system as the aircraft descended rapidly. Others said they heard a loud bang and felt a gust of cold air at their feet.

One passenger told the Aviation Herald: “Me and my husband . . . said our goodbyes to one another and really thought we were going to die after the captain called ‘mayday, mayday’.”

Another passenger said: “The sudden gush of cold air was totally unexpected and as the oxygen masks came down there was almost an eerie atmosphere – it seemed to go silent. People began crossing themselves and a few passengers were removing shoes in preparation for an emergency landing. It was very frightening.”

The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation has begun an investigation.