Netherlands – A 767 charter flight from London to Poland filled with passengers headed for Lizhensk to observe the yahrtzeit of the Noam Elimelech made an unscheduled landing in Amsterdam after an aircraft malfunction forced the pilot to issue a Mayday call.
Titan Airways flight AWC941 left Stansted at 9:21 local time, according to Dutch aviation site Up In The Sky (http://bit.ly/2mgZ1jb), bound for Rzeszow, Poland approximately 25 miles from Lizhensk.
But just 20 minutes into the flight, the flight crew received an indication that the passenger cabin was losing pressure.
The pilot of AWC941 issued a Mayday call at 9:43 GMT and oxygen masks dropped as the plane began its descent to make an emergency landing at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
Passengers on the plane said that at the time, they felt they were in serious danger, according to reports on Kikar HaShabat (http://bit.ly/2nS19dk).
“The plane felt as if it was dangling between heaven and earth when they asked us to put on the oxygen masks,” said one. “We prayed and were sure that the worst would happen.”
Despite the growing concern within the cabin, the aircraft landed safely in Amsterdam. Emergency crews were on standby as AWC 941 touched down on the runway.
Video posted to social media show passengers sitting in their seats wearing oxygen masks, singing songs of gratitude after their safe landing and the pilot explaining the problem to the passengers who are still surrounded by an overhead jungle of rubber oxygen masks.
The 767 was grounded as mechanics examine the plane for possible problems. Some of the passengers on the Rzeszow bound flight were able to get seats on other plans bound for Poland while others returned home to London.
A loss of cabin pressure can cause problems ranging from minor to catastrophic. With slow depressurization, oxygen levels within an airplane would drop at a relatively slow rate, and once passengers and the flight crew don their oxygen masks they would likely be in relatively little harm for as long as the on board oxygen lasts. Once aware of a pressurization problem, the flight crew would typically lower the aircraft’s altitude to below 10,000 feet where oxygen levels are similar to levels on solid ground.
A faster rate of depressurization as well as higher altitudes can both bring on dangerous conditions much more rapidly.
Flight AWC 941 was estimated to be at 25,000 feet when the pilot noticed the problem and, according to the FAA, a pilot could lose his ability to take corrective action within five to 12 minutes at that altitude. Without putting on the overhead oxygen masks, those on board would be in danger of succumbing to hypoxia, which would cause confusion, drowsiness and, ultimately, death.
It is unknown how many passengers were booked on the flight which seated up to 265 passengers.
Attempts by VIN News to reach Titan Airlines for comment on the matter were unsuccessful.