Airline passengers in mid-air scare as plane plummets in China
An afternoon flight from Kunming to Hangzhou was forced to turn around when mechanical problems caused drop in altitude and cabin pressure
Passengers on a flight to eastern China feared for their lives on Sunday afternoon when their plane suddenly lost altitude.
The 146 passengers and nine crew members were around 20 minutes into their journey on board Capital Airlines flight JD5158 from Kunming, Yunnan province, to Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, when they heard loud noises, quickly followed by the pilot’s announcement that the cabin was losing pressure and oxygen masks would be lowered, according to Chinese media reports.
One of the passengers, identified by his family name Zhang, told the Qianjiang Evening News that he saw and smelled smoke and felt a “strong loss of gravity” as the plane rapidly descended.
His six-year-old boy complained about aching ears and asked him why the plane was dropping so quickly, to which Zhang replied they were playing a game of wearing masks.
“I am only in my 30s and I don’t want to die. Even if I had to die, please don’t let anything bad happen to my son,” Zhang recalled him thinking to himself while his wife watched him with tears in her eyes.
Children were crying and a nearby passenger was recording their last words on a mobile to the family, Zhang said.
A woman passenger, also surnamed Zhang, told The Beijing News that she was almost certain she would not survive and wrote a note to her parents.
“I have never had such an experience and I literally thought we were going to crash,” the woman said. “I switched on my mobile phone and wrote to my parents about how sorry I would be if I didn’t survive.”
Passengers said the plane steadied after a while and they were told they would return to the Kunming airport.
They were very grateful to the crew and applauded for a long time after they landed safely.
A statement from the airline to People’s Daily said the flight returned to Kunming due to mechanical problems. It landed safely at about 3.30pm and no one was injured.
Some passengers cancelled their trip while others took another flight to Hangzhou in the evening.
The plane, an A320 with more than five years of service, was being repaired, the report said.