Mumbai: A Mumbai-Jaipur Jet Airways flight had to be turned back on Thursday as several passengers suffered nose and ear bleeding, allegedly due to the failure of the cockpit crew to maintain cabin pressure. The flight — a Boeing 737 aircraft — had 166 passengers and five crewmembers on board. A Jet Airways spokesperson admitted that the aircraft returned to Mumbai due to “loss of cabin pressure” and said that the pilots had been taken off duty pending investigation. Thirty passengers suffered injuries, five of which were sent to Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai. The rest underwent treatment at the airport hospital.
Ankur Kala, 38, who was going to Jaipur suffered a nosebleed. He said, “As soon as we took off, the air conditioners were not working. It was suffocating inside. I came to know later from the media that they had forgotten to switch on the cabin pressure machine.” He said, 15 to 20 minutes after the takeoff, oxygen masks were deployed, but there were no instructions as to whether or not to use them.
Mumbai-based professional Prashant Sharma also had a harrowing experience. He said, “I was sitting on an aisle seat when suddenly the air pressure in the cabin dropped and oxygen masks came down. I saw a passenger sitting next to me bleeding from the nose, which was terrifying. Several others complained of extreme pain in their ears.”
Another passenger, Darshak Hathi said that many masks were not working. Officials in Mumbai said that five passengers who suffered nose and ear bleeding were diagnosed with “mild conductive deafness”, but they did not require admission. Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital’s chief operating officer, Rajendra Patankar, said the five passengers’ condition was stable. According to ENT doctors who examined them, the five passengers suffered “barotrauma of the ear”, which is caused due to a change in air pressure.
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau has been directed to probe the incident. The civil aviation ministry said it has requested the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to immediately file a report on the issue. “The crew is being derostered. Of the 166 people on board, 30 were affected and have been given treatment,” the ministry said in a tweet....