Qantas plane drops 26,000 ft
during Melbourne-bound flight

This transcript is being reproduced as a typical example of tabloid reporting of an aviation incident. The headline is that of the sub-editor at the Herald-Sun, who, it appears, doesn’t know the difference between flying and falling.The article’s original page can be found HERE

Wes Hosking From:Herald Sun January 25, 2011 10:36AM

Passenger’s image from Twitter

UPDATE 3.10pm: AN air conditioning fault has been identified as the cause of today’s mid-air drama on a Melbourne-bound Qantas flight.

The Melbourne-bound Qantas flight dropped 26,000 feet during the mid-air drama this morning after pressure was lost in the cabin.

Engineers inspected the Boeing 737 soon after landing and found a technical fault with the air conditioning system was to blame.

Worried passengers were told to put on oxygen masks during the incident aboard this morning's flight.

A passenger, who declined to be named, said the scare occurred shortly after flight QF670 left Adelaide about 6.10am.

He said the captain announced the precaution was being taken because the plane's air conditioning system had failed.

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"All of the oxygen masks dropped down,'' the passenger said.

"The captain came across and said `This is an emergency'.''

The plane, believed to be a Boeing 737, descended from 36,000 to about 10,000 feet.

Adelaide man Simon, who was aboard the flight, said passengers did not know what was happening.

The 21-year-old chef bravely handed his mask to a woman next to him who was hyperventilating.

"She was really, really struggling,’’ he said.

He said a veteran air hostess said such an incident had never happened in her 35-year career.

"Everything was going well until we noticed the ladies were about to clear the tables,’’ he said.

"All of a sudden they quickly ran back to their stations.

"Then we noticed a real gushing sound like we were dropping really quickly.

"It was a really rapid rate.''
Simon had doubts about flying Qantas anytime soon.

He said one woman was too scared to catch a connecting flight with the airline to Tasmania.

"I wouldn’t fly with them in the near future,’’ Simon said.

"It is becoming quite a common thing with Qantas unfortunately.’’

Passengers were forced to keep masks on for about five minutes, the passenger said.
"Everyone had to breathe into them until the plane dropped,'' he said.

"Most people were pretty worried because you do not know what is going on really.

"It's not pleasant that is for sure.''

The flight arrived in Melbourne safely just before 8am.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the flight, carrying 99 passengers, experienced depressurisation in the cabin about a half hour before reaching Melbourne.

"The flight crew requested a rapid descent to 10,000 feet into Melbourne and the aircraft landed without incident,’’ she said.

"There was no safety issue at any time.

"Emergency services were not required to attend the aircraft.’’

The incident will be reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Civil Aviation Safety Authority.