Passengers on an Aer Lingus flight from Zurich to Dublin on Saturday were told the aircraft was going to make an emergency landing into the sea.
However about two minutes later the passengers were told to ignore the announcement, which was made when the flight was over the sea.
The flight landed without further incident on schedule at Dublin Airport, soon after midday.
“I was sitting down near the back with my son, who had headphones on,” said Dubliner Fearghal O’Lideacha, who lives in Zurich and was on the flight.
As best he could remember, the pre-recorded message said: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is an emergency. Please prepare for a ditched landing.”
Mr O’Lideacha said he has an interest in aviation and knew that a ditched landing meant going into the water.
He said there was very little reaction to the announcement, possibly because so many people had headphones on. He did make eye contact with one woman who was sitting nearby and minding children.
“I could see the distress on her face,” he told The Irish Times. The flight attendants were behind the curtains at each end of the aircraft, and no-one came rushing out to tell passengers what to do, which he took as a good sign.
A male passenger up the front of the aircraft went up to the curtain and spoke to the cabin crew, and when he turned around his body language indicated he was not panicking, Mr O’Lideacha said.
“Then one of the flight crew made an announcement that we should ignore the earlier announcement. That was a big relief. I’d say it was about two minutes later.”
A spokeswoman for the airline said that during Aer Lingus flight EI343 from Zurich to Dublin an incorrect pre-recorded announcement was momentarily played on board.
“A follow up announcement was made advising passengers of the error. At no point during the flight was there any risk to the safety of the aircraft or those on board.”