- Jet Airways flight, with 166 passengers, had to turn back
- The flight was going from Mumbai to Jaipur
- Jet Airways expressed regret; cockpit crew "taken off scheduled duties"
For petrifying moments on a Jet Airways flight that took off from Mumbai this morning, oxygen masks came down, passengers felt dizzy and some were bleeding from their noses. The flight, with 166 passengers, had to turn back shortly after taking off for Jaipur, allegedly after a bizarre error led to a drop in cabin pressure.
Over 30 passengers complained of nose-bleed and many suffered headaches after the crew on flight 9W 697 forgot to flick a switch that helps regulate cabin air pressure.
One passenger was taken to hospital by Jet Airways officials. In a statement, the airline expressed regret and said its cockpit crew had been "taken off scheduled duties pending investigations". The civil aviation ministry has asked for a report on the incident.
After the Boeing 737 aircraft landed, passengers were taken to the airport terminal where doctors administered first aid.
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau is investigating the incident, said aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). "During the climb, the crew forgot to select a bleed switch due to which cabin pressure could not be maintained," a DGCA officer said.
A passenger tweeted a video of the moment when the oxygen masks dropped from overhead compartments. People could be seen sitting stiffly, looking tense.
The Jet Airways spokesperson said another flight had been organised for the passengers.
An officer of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau said it could be a case of negligence as the pilots are supposed to apply the correct cabin air pressure settings before take-off -- the procedure is a part of the pre-flight checks.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu has also ordered a safety audit of all scheduled airlines and airports and sought the findings within 30 days, news agency Press Trust of India reported. He directed officials to prepare the safety audit plan to cover all scheduled airlines, aerodromes, flying training schools and maintenance facilities, a statement said.
Aviation experts say loss of cabin pressure is a serious emergency in an aircraft flying at cruising altitude. It reduces the flow of oxygen and, in severe cases, can cause hypoxia.
In January, two Jet Airways pilots were grounded for getting into a brawl and storming out of the cockpit briefly during a New Year's Day flight from London to Mumbai.
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