Passengers on a recent Delta flight that was on its way from Atlanta, Georgia to Fort Lauderdale, Florida endured seven minutes of terror as Flight 2353 quickly dropped nearly 30,000 feet in the air.
One passenger said that the cabin descended into “chaos” as the plane made its terrifying plunge toward Earth. Atlanta station WSB-TV reported that the plane descended from 39,000 feet to 10,000 feet in less than seven minutes, causing the oxygen masks to drop from passengers’ overhead area.
“Air masks, the oxygen masks dropped from the top of the plane. Chaos sort of ensued amongst the passengers,” Harris Dewoskin, who was aboard the flight, told the outlet. He added that despite the crew’s attempts to keep people calm, many of his fellow passengers went into a panic.
Photos shared by the passenger show worried passengers in their seats with the oxygen masks dangling from the ceiling.
Dewoskin added: “One of the flight attendants, I believe, grabbed the intercom and was just repeatedly over the intercom stating, ‘Do not panic. Do not panic,’ but obviously it’s a hectic moment so the passengers around me a lot of people were kind of hyperventilating, breathing really hard.”
@Delta Flight 2353 God Bless the Captain and crew. Had an emergency midair from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale. Oxygen masks deployed and we descended quickly and we're diverted to Tampa. I texted my wife and dad I loved them. Told my mom I love her and hugged my son. @wsvn @cbs12 pic.twitter.com/C9QcU9DbYV— J.T. (@BrutusOsceola) September 18, 2019
Another passenger shared photos on Twitter, writing that he was so terrified that he “texted my wife and dad I loved them. Told my mom I love her and hugged my son.”
Another passenger shared pictures of the oxygen bags, saying that the flight crew “was awesome@keeping people calm.”
In a statement shared with PEOPLE, Delta apologized to passengers on board the frightening flight.
“While in flight between Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale Delta flight 2353 made a rapid, controlled descent due to a possible aircraft depressurization issue. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay,” the statement said.
The airplane is currently being evaluated by a maintenance technician, and passengers were bused from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale, arriving on Thursday night.
“Life is fragile like. There was a scary 60 to 90 seconds where we really didn’t know what was going on,” Dewoskin said. “At 15,000 feet in the air, it’s a scary moment for sure.”