30 passengers hurt after India pilots’ blunder

MUMBAI: Thirty Indian passengers, some bleeding from their noses and ears, have received treatment after pilots “forgot” to turn on a switch regulating cabin pressure, officials said.
Shortly after takeoff from the Mumbai, Jet Airways flight crew forgot to select a switch to maintain cabin pressure and oxygen masks were deployed.
Jet Airways said the flight’s cockpit crew had been taken off scheduled duties until an investigation into the incident was completed. The airline will also cooperate with the civil aviation regulator on the investigation, Jet said. Videos of the incident taken by passengers quickly went viral on social media, focusing public attention on the airline at a time when it is struggling to cut costs and embroiled in a pay dispute with pilots. The Mumbai-Jaipur flight 9W-697 — carrying 166 persons and five crew on board — complained of severe headache and pain in the ears after take-off around 6 am from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.
The flight was forced to return soon after, a Jet Air spokesperson said. The ailing passengers were rushed to the terminal building where they were administered first aid by doctors.
Furious passengers vented their ire via the social media and accused the airline of completely ignoring their plight. “Panic situation due to technical fault in the flight. Flight returns to Mumbai after 45 minutes. All passengers are safe, including me,” tweeted Darshak Hathi.He claimed that after the take-off, the air-conditioning malfunctioned, after which the air pressure system too malfunctioned and oxygen masks dropped down.
Another passenger Amit Relan said that the flight was on the runway for 20 minutes without ventilation that led to suffocation, and “don’t know if will make it”.
Others complained that they were forced to sit in the aircraft for long, with no breakfast and no information from the airline. “We emergency-landed. Now what? Ground staff has no answers. Kya karein?” rued Prashant Sharma.
Other passengers like Melissa Tixeira and Gravina Pereira, posted short video clips on the harrowing experience. — Agencies