Passengers onboard a Delta Air Lines flight were left fearing for their lives after the plane plunged almost 30,000ft in just seven minutes.
Flight 2353 was travelling from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale in Florida when the incident occurred, prompting passengers to text loved ones in preparation.
“God Bless the Captain and crew,” tweeted one passenger. “I texted my wife and dad I loved them. Told my mom I love her and hugged my son.”
He posted pictures of the plane cabin, in which oxygen masks can be seen hanging from the ceiling.
Witnesses told WSB-TV that travellers were told repeatedly “do not panic” by a flight attendant over the tannoy.
“Obviously it’s a hectic moment so the passengers around me, a lot of people were kind of hyperventilating, breathing really hard,” said passenger Harris Dewoskin.
He said it was a “scary moment” and that “chaos ensued”.
“Life is fragile. There was a scary 60 to 90 seconds where we really didn’t know what was going on,” he added.
Flight tracking website Flight Aware shows the moment the aircraft suddenly dropped through the air, in what Delta described as a “controlled descent”. At around 38 minutes in, the plane’s altitude fell from 38,000ft to just over 10,000ft within the space of seven minutes.
The flight then diverted to Tampa, landing 28 minutes later, where passengers deplaned as normal.
A Delta Air Lines spokesperson told The Independent: “We apologise to our customers on flight 2353 from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, which diverted to Tampa out of an abundance of caution and landed without incident following a cabin pressurisation irregularity en route.”
The airline said passengers were transported from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale by bus, arriving last night.
The aircraft is currently being evaluated by maintenance technicians.
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