Flight’s 10,000-Foot Drop Terrifies Passengers, Gets Plane Diverted

A flight’s 10,000-foot drop left passengers aboard the Chicago-bound plane terrified and the aircraft had to be rerouted to Indianapolis on Sunday morning after it descended a total of 22,000 feet in mid-air. According to the Indy Star, the reason for the United Airlines flight’s initial 10,000-foot drop is being blamed on a pressurization issue.

A spokesman for ExpressJet, which is one of United Airlines regional partners, elaborated on the incident via email.

“The pilots safely descended the aircraft from 32,000 feet to approximately 10,000 feet,” Jarek Beem explained. “To be clear — the aircraft was in control of the pilots at all times and at no point was there an uncommanded change in altitude.The crew followed procedure to bring the aircraft to a lower altitude following a pressurization issue.”

According to a report from NBC Chicago, United Express flight 5919 was traveling from Charlotte, North Carolina, when the aircraft suddenly dropped 10,000 feet.

Although a few passengers were left shaken up by the flight’s unexpected 10,000-foot drop, Jeff Dutton, communications manager at the Indianapolis Airport Authority, said there were no reports of passengers or flight crew being seriously injured. However, Dutton said a few passengers complained of headaches and other minor injuries and they were treated and released by local medical personnel.

“Some passengers were complaining of headaches and ear problems so they diverted to Indianapolis,” Dutton said.

The plane made a safe landing at Indianapolis International Airport on Sunday morning and Beem said the airline is working hard to accommodate customers who are trying to get to Chicago. As of the time of this report, maintenance technicians are investigating the incident and are looking for a possible cause as to what triggered the pressurization issue.

This is a developing story and any further updates will be posted here as they are made available.

Sunday’s incident is eerily similar to an incident that occurred in April when a SkyWest flight from Chicago to Connecticut had to make an emergency landing in Buffalo, New York, after the plane plummeted 28,000 feet in three minutes. According to KTLA, it was initially believed that there was a problem with the plane’s cabin door which could have led to de-pressurization in the cabin. However, the FAA later issued a statement that did not reference a pressurization problem.

[Image via Don Boyd/Getty Images News]