If you suffer from a fear of flying or Aerophobia, then the following story might be something close to your worst nightmare.
An overnight Qantas Airways flight from Perth, Australia to Sydney encountered a mid-air problem that looked to be so severe, passengers on board thought they were going to die.
The Airbus A330 plane suffered an issue with it air conditioning, which can cause a plane to have difficulty maintaining cabin pressure.
While the plane was making an unscheduled diversion to Melbourne, oxygen masks dropped from the above head compartments and everyone on board presumed the worst.
Fortunately, just like on The Simpsons this proved to be a false alarm but at the time people were so scared that they began preparing goodbye messages for their loved ones.
Passenger Nick Scerri described the traumatic situation to The Daily Mail:
It was one of those experiences you go through that gives you a real jolt and reminds you how vulnerable you are.
People were being openly hysterical because the pilots were being so tight-lipped about the situation.
I tried to keep a poker face but the lack of information had us all looking at each other, we genuinely thought we were going to die.
An elderly lady fainted and there was a doctor on board who administered first aid and got her an oxygen tank.
She had to be sat down and combined with children crying it was terrible.
He added that after the pilot announced the emergency descent the force of the plane could physically be felt and that the numerous children on board were visibly upset.
Despite the hysteria, the cabin crew managed to keep a calm composure with the plane eventually making a safe landing in Tullamarine, Melbourne.
Once on the ground engineers made their way on to the plane to investigate the problem, while passengers were transferred to the next available flight to Sydney.
In a statement a Qantas spokesperson said:
Following standard procedure, the crew descended to 10,000 feet and were able to restart the system and diverted to Melbourne.
The crew did not declare an emergency. It was a request for priority handling by air traffic control on arrival into Melbourne as a precaution.
We thank the crew for their professionalism and passengers for their patience and understanding through this issue.
The Mail report that the oxygen masks were deployed due to the pressurisation problem but Scerri was critical of how the airline handled the situation at the time and offered a lack of compassion to the passengers.
There were only about four or five people on the tarmac with high visibility shirts when we landed, no paramedics, nothing said to me there were emergency vehicles waiting for us.
It was extremely disappointing. I had the impression this was about the economics of the plane needing to be fixed than our well being.
HT Lad Bible