It’s been a scary week for air travel — and the timing couldn’t be worse, right before the busiest travel season of the year.
A Gulf Air flight to London this week plunged 32,000 feet in eight minutes after a loss in cabin pressure, reportedly leaving passengers terrified.
Oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling and emergency procedures were put into effect as a result of “technical issues.”
Flight GF003, an Airbus 330, was en route from Bahrain to Heathrow, when the emergency occurred; the plane and all 89 passengers eventually landed safely at Heathrow.
Technical issues forced a Gulf Air plane to descend 32,000 feet in just a few minutes. (Photo: Gulf Air/Facebook)
In a series of tweets, Gulf Air released this statement: “Gulf Air can confirm that flight GF003, an Airbus 330, flying from Bahrain to London on 13 December, experienced technical issues that resulted in the airline’s experienced cockpit crew successfully executing an emergency descent and safely landing at Heathrow International.”
“The safety, protection and comfort of our passengers and employees are of utmost importance and Gulf Air crew are trained to handle such incidents as evidenced by the level of professionalism shown by both the pilots & cabin crew as well as all of our teams on the ground.”
This came just a day after another horrifying in-flight incident. On Sunday, a piece of a plane wing fell off of a Southwest Airlines flight over Texas. Fortunately, the plane made an emergency landing with no one harmed.
A picture of the wing of a Southwest Airlines plane, after a piece fell off. (Photo: Lorenzo Hernandez Jr./Facebook)
Flight from 987 from Austin to Harlingen was carrying 109 people when, as passenger Lorenzo Hernandez Jr. posted on Facebook, “on the left side of the plane, fasteners came or broke off the wing. I heard a few people to the side of me scream to the aircrew, a piece broke and flew off and a panel was hanging.”
Hernandez posted photos of the faulty wing on Facebook. He said when it happened he felt “the worst turbulence ever,” and that passengers were praying, but “I am glad to say the great staff and pilots kept calm and stabilized the plane after a few minutes.”
The plane touched down in San Antonio without incident. A Southwest spokesperson told the Daily Mail the issue was “a flap track canoe fairing appearing to be at an irregular angle.” Southwest said it would take the flight out of service for further inspection.
On Tuesday, another Southwest Airlines flight encountered problems, when a Boeing 737 arriving from Houston Hobby Airport skidded off the runway at Nashville International Airport. At least nine people were injured, and passengers used the emergency slides to exit the plane. The airport released video footage showing the plane skidding off the runway and landing in grass.
And on Wednesday at India’s Mumbai airport, a technician for Air India was tragically sucked into a jet engine and killed. According to reports, the co-pilot accidentally started the engine after misunderstanding a signal from the ground crew. The incident took place just as the plane was pushing back from the gate to take off.