‘I thought we were done for’ - passengers on Ryanair flight describe emergency landing

People seen bleeding from ears after Dublin flight to Croatia makes emergency landing

A number of passengers on board the Ryanair flight from Dublin to Croatia that had to make an emergency landing in Germany have described their experiences.

Dozens of passengers were taken to hospital complaining of headache and earache and suffering from nausea after the plane depressurised rapidly.

Sarah McGarry, from Ratoath in Co Meath, spoke to The Irish Times from the basement at Frankfurt Hahn airport where she had been staying overnight.

She explained the moment when the cabin started losing pressure:

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“We get on the plane, we’re flying and next of all the oxygen mask comes down, we’re left in darkness for 15 minutes, there’s no reassurance just people shouting ‘emergency, emergency’.

“There was a newborn baby and children on the flight, people are screaming and we don’t know what’s going on for 15 minutes . . . Then finally we’re told that we’re going to Germany.”

Another passenger, who did not want to be named, said “it was really scary, there were three to four minutes (that felt like an hour) when the plane was falling fast and I thought we were done for”.

The passenger, who was travelling with three young children, said people were bleeding from the eardrums when they landed.

Ms McGarry, who was travelling to Zadar for a holiday with her boyfriend, said her eardrum burst during the descent. However, she did not go to the hospital in an ambulance because she was not told if she would be back in time to catch the rescheduled flight, which was due to take off at 9.30am on Saturday.

“My eardrum burst when the plane dropped and I was told I’d have to travel 70km to be seen at the hospital because that there were no doctors there available. I wasn’t reassured if I went that I’d be able to get back on the flight.

“I chose not to go because if I travelled to the hospital I wasn’t reassured that I’d get back on the same flight and with the same passengers.”

Newborn baby

Ms McGarry says she has been “sitting in Germany on a cold hard floor for 11 hours now, all I’ve got to eat is a croissant and a coffee to the value of the €10 voucher we were given.

“I was told I’d have to purchase anything else with my own money.”

Ms McGarry’s boyfriend, Keiran Blunt, said their treatment by Ryanair has been “disgraceful”.

“It’s disgraceful, I know these things happen but what really got me was the lack of reassurance from the company in general.

“There was no reassurance from the captain, from the staff team at Ryanair, we were just left in limbo since yesterday.

“The children here have been left without water, they’ve had no lunch provided to them.

“There was a newborn baby on board, a few months old, and I had to steal water from a fridge here in Frankfurt just to provide the family with some water.

“There’s young lads between 9 and 12 who’ve been given nothing with any nutritional value. We were let sleep here on a cold concrete floor.

“I’m not one to complain, I take things in my stride it was quite disgraceful. It was atrocious. There was no apology and I’m a bit disappointed.”

Conor Brennan (21), one of the passengers who was taken to hospital after suffering a severe build up of fluid behind his ears.

He described the chaos on board:

“Oxygen masks dropped and then about 20 seconds later the pilot made an announcement that he was going to make a controlled descent. Then we descended really, really fast for about 5 minutes. My ears felt like they were going to explode.

“Then we levelled off and continued descending for about 10 minutes. We landed in Zadar airport, I remained on the plane for about 20 minutes despite requesting medical attention.

“Eventually we disembarked and waited on the runway for another 20 minutes. We were then bussed over to a terminal, where we waited another 20 minutes before we received a medical brief, where they had a look at us.

“There was another half an hour then before I received any kind of actual attention from a doctor, who gave me painkillers. Then an hour after that I was bussed to the hospital.

“There was very little sign if at all of any Ryanair staff there. Airport staff and the German red cross were the only people I could see there who were helping.

“The airport staff and Red Cross did their best to handle the situation, as Ryanair were nowhere to be seen, the first communication from Ryanair was this morning with food vouchers Ryanair .

“They really displayed a shocking lack of empathy for their customers, almost bordering on inhumane.”

In response to a query from The Irish Times on Saturday morning, Ryanair released a statement saying: "This flight from Dublin to Zadar (13 July) diverted to Frankfurt Hahn due to an inflight depressurisation. In line with standard procedure, the crew deployed oxygen masks and initiated a controlled descent. The aircraft landed normally and customers disembarked, where a small number received medical attention as a precaution.

“Customers were provided with refreshment vouchers and hotel accommodation was authorised, however there was a shortage of available accommodation. Customers will board a replacement aircraft which will depart to Zadar this morning and Ryanair sincerely apologised for any inconvenience.”