All aboard the nightmare machine.
A recent Delta Airlines flight dove nearly 30,000 feet in the span of just minutes in an incident that passengers say had them scared for their lives. Delta Flight 2353 was on its way from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday when the captain received an indicator warning of a possible depressurization issue, a spokesperson told Gizmodo by phone.
After the issue was flagged, the response was to get the aircraft from its position of 39,000 feet down to 10,000 feet as quickly as possible. That descent lasted roughly seven to eight minutes, the Delta spokesperson said. Though it was controlled, passengers described a panicked and stressful scene inside the cabin.
“The oxygen masks dropped from the top of the plane and chaos sort of ensued amongst the passengers,” Harris DeWoskin, a passenger on the flight, told ABC-affiliated WSB-TV. DeWoskin described the situation as a “hectic moment,” adding that passengers around him were hyperventilating.
A brief clip captured by DeWoskin and shared to Twitter by WFTS reporter Michael Paluska shows deployed air masks hanging from the ceiling.
Passenger Brandon Tomlinson told BuzzFeed News the event occurred roughly 35 minutes after departure and described it as “like a roller coaster as we were going down.” Tomlinson, who was traveling with his mother and his 1-year-old son, told BuzzFeed News that other passengers were crying, adding, “We all sort of thought this is how it’s going to end.”
It’s not clear what caused the issue or, alternatively, whether there was in fact a problem at all. The spokesperson said the incident is being investigated.
According to flight tracker Flight Aware, the Delta plane departed Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at roughly 3:37 p.m. and following the incident diverted Tampa International Airport, where it landed at 5:12 p.m. Tampa is a little over an hour from Fort Lauderdale by commercial flight, or nearly four hours by car.
The Delta spokesperson told Gizmodo that the airline worked to reroute passengers according to their situation and final destination. Most passengers were bussed from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale, the spokesperson said.
In spite of the event, Tomlinson told BuzzFeed News that the flight crew expertly handled the incident, telling the site that they were “real brilliant, the way they handled themselves.” In a statement, Delta said it would like to “apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay.”