Flyers suffer nosebleed on Jet Airways flight

Passengers wearing oxygen mas inside the Jet Airways flight. Screengrab. Source: Twitter/DarshakHathi

In a major breach of flight safety check-list, more than two dozen passengers aboard a Jet Airways flight suffered bleeding from nose and ears after the pilots forgot to flick on the switch that controls cabin air pressure.

The flight 9W 697, operated through a Boeing 737 aircraft, carrying 166 passengers and five crew members took off for Jaipur from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on Thursday morning. However, it had to return within 30-45 minutes after the mid-air scare. 

The pilots did not press the “bleed switch” —  which controls air pressure in the cabin during take-off — which is required as per the standard operating procedures. 

Minutes after the plane was airborne and on a climb, the passengers felt breathlessness. About 30 of them began bleeding from nose and ears. The oxygen masks also came out. After 20-plus minutes in the air, the pilots turned back to Mumbai. 

 

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After the emergency landing, the passengers were rushed to the terminal building where they were administered first-aid. 

The incident was confirmed by the officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Jet Airways as well as the Mumbai International Airport Ltd. 

An incident of this scale is first in India’s aviation history.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu has taken a serious note of the incident and ordered a detailed probe. 
The pilots have been derostered pending inquiry, Jet Airways officials said. 

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been asked to file a report on the incident. Accordingly, the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is conducting an enquiry.

Cellphone videos apparently taken by passengers showed oxygen masks hanging from overhead compartments and passengers breathing through them. 

Two passengers, Darshak Hathi and Satish Nair, were among the first to tweet about the incident when the plane landed.

“Passengers faced problems and also there were no announcement or information from the crew members,” said Hathi, who was on board. “It was the worst nightmare you could think of... I was almost blacked out,” said Nair. 

The Jet Airways said that after the incident, 144 passengers (out of 166) were accommodated on an alternative aircraft to Jaipur.

Of the remaining 22 passengers, 17 cancelled their flight plans for the day while the five taken to Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital were allowed to leave after some tests.

“The five patients, all men, have mild conductive deafness, a temporary condition which is likely to take a week or 10 days to heal. They are advised not to fly till that time,” said Dr Rajendra Patankar, chief operating officer of Nanavati Hospital.

 

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Flyers suffer nosebleed on Jet Airways flight

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