A plane made an emergency landing in New York after a passenger became ill and passed out, leading to tense moments as the pilot had to make a rapid and potentially dangerous descent.
The SkyWest Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing in Buffalo on Wednesday morning, cutting short its planned trip from Chicago to Hartford.
Though there were initially reports that the plane lost pressure, which would have endangered the lives of all on board, the airline disputed these reports.
“SkyWest Flight 5622, operating as United Express from Chicago to Hartford, diverted to Buffalo, NY after a passenger lost consciousness,” SkyWest said in a statement. “The flight landed safely in Buffalo, where the passenger received medical attention before being released.”
Before the emergency landing in New York, the plane dropped rapidly, descending from 37,000 feet down to 10,000 feet in just six minutes. That is considered a much faster descent than normal, experts say.
The emergency landing was likely a tense situation, said Mary Schiavo, a CNN aviation expert.
“It would feel like a roller coaster — when you’re coming over the top and you’re going down,” Schiavo said. “You know that these pilots knew they were in a very grave and very serious situation.”
The situation on Wednesday was reminiscent of another tense emergency landing. In January, a Delta flight traveling from Minnesota to Las Vegas had to make an emergency landing after the pilot was locked out of the cockpit.
Cell phone footage showed the pilot joining other passengers at the back of the plane. Passenger Jesse Dougherty told ABC News that it led to a very confusing sequence of events.
“About half way through [the 2.5-hour flight] there seemed to be some talking at the front of the plane. You could see the captain out there. There wasn’t a huge panic but some confusion.”
After the emergency landing in New York, SkyWest was working on ways to get the remaining 75 passengers to their destination in Hartford. SkyWest said it is still investigating the incident and will release a statement shortly.
[Image via SkyWest]