Flight Makes 'Terrifying' Drop After Pressurization Warning

Passenger praises crew after plane lands safely
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2023 1:20 PM CDT
Flight Makes 'Terrifying' Drop After Pressurization Warning
An American Airlines Boeing 737-823 lands at Miami International Airport in 2020.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

An American Airlines flight last week dropped nearly 20,000 feet over 11 minutes after the pilot received a warning of a pressurization problem, a descent that a passenger called terrifying. Flight 5916, which took off Thursday afternoon from Charlotte, landed safely in Gainesville, Florida. No one was injured, WCNC reports, and the cockpit crew did not declare an emergency. "This was scary," wrote Harrison Hove, a passenger who posted photos on social media. "The photos cannot capture the burning smell, loud bang or ear pops."

FlightAware data show the biggest drop was 18,600 feet over six minutes. The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the problem was a pressurization issue, per WOFL. The plane carried 48 passengers and three crew members and was being operated by Piedmont Airlines. Hove praised the crew for being "cool under pressure" and keeping the passengers, who put on oxygen masks and remained calm, informed. "It was terrifying but turned out ok," he posted. (A Delta flight made a similar descent for a similar reason, leading to "instant panic.")

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