FlySafair defends pilot who didn’t communicate emergency landing to passengers
The flight experienced a gradual loss of pressure in the cabin at about 32,000 feet.
JOHANNESBURG - Budget airline FlySafair says the pilot on board last night's flight to Cape Town was not able to communicate with passengers about an emergency descent, and the decision to return to Johannesburg, because of the attention required to stabilise the situation.
The FlySafair flight experienced a gradual loss of pressure in the cabin at about 32,000 feet, prompting a rapid descent.
This sparked panic among the passengers who say they weren't notified about what was happening until nine minutes before landing at OR Tambo International Airport.
FlySafair CEO Elmar Conradie said, "Obviously the captain needs full focus on making sure the aeroplane lands safely. So at that point he can't really communicate with passengers; the air hostesses would have given instructions on what to do."
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The airline suffered from a similar incident on Friday when a flight, also from Johannesburg to Cape Town, had to return to land due to gradual loss of cabin pressure.
FlySafair says its technical teams are presently investigating the source of last night's incident, but say that early indications are that the two issues are not related.
Earlier, a passenger described fearing for her life and that of her eight-month-old baby as the aircraft rapidly descended and turned back to Johannesburg.
Passengers described a state of panic in the cabin as the seat belt sign flashed and oxygen masks dropped, without any explanation.