Florida-bound American Airlines flight 5916 left passengers shook after the plane dipped more than 15,000 feet within a three-minute timespan. Passengers described smelling a burning aroma during the ordeal.
One passenger, University of Florida Professor Harrison Hove, described the incident as “terrifying” on social media.
“I’ve flown a lot,” he said. “This was scary. Kudos to our amazing flight crew-cabin staff and pilots on American Air 5916. The photos cannot capture the burning smell, loud bang or ear pops.”
After takeoff, crew members on the plane reported that there was a possible pressurisation issue, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
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Data from FlightAware shows that after 11 minutes, the plane had dropped nearly 20,000 feet. At the 43-minute mark of the flight, the plane dropped 18,600 feet within a time span of six minutes. On the app X, formerly known as Twitter, Harrison apprised his followers about how terrified he was at the moment. However, the problem didn’t persist as flight 5916 landed in Gaines, Florida just before 5 p.m.
“The burning smell can apparently be attributed to using the oxygen canisters. The wing flaps came out to immediately lower our altitude so there would be more oxygen. It was terrifying but turned out ok,” Harrison told Fox News.
Photos taken by Harrison, which are circulating around X, show passengers breathing into oxygen masks that had dropped when the plane began losing altitude. Harrison took a selfie while breathing into the small yellow mask. As of today, his post has 73,900 views on X.
An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed that the situation was indeed caused by a pressurisation issue. They said when crew members received an indication of the problem, they “immediately and safely descended to a lower altitude.” The spokesperson apologised to the passengers aboard on behalf of the airline.
“American Eagle flight 5916, operated by Piedmont Airlines, from Charlotte to Gainesville, Florida landed safely in GNV on Thursday, August 10. While inflight, the crew received an indication of a possible pressurization issue and immediately and safely descended to a lower altitude. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience and thank our team for their professionalism,” the spokesperson said.