At least 30 passengers on a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Jaipur suffered nose and ear bleeding on Thursday (20) after the crew “forgot” to turn on a switch that controls cabin air pressure, officials said.
The cockpit crew of the flight, which had 171 people on board, have been derostered and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) has been directed to probe the incident.
An AAIB official said the incident could be a case of negligence on the part of the pilots since controlling cabin pressure control is part of check before operating a flight.
One of the pilots of the flight, which returned to Mumbai airport after being airborne for around 23 minutes, is a captain with more than five years of experience, sources said.
“During climb, the crew forgot to select bleed switch due to which cabin pressurisation could not be maintained. As a result, oxygen masks got deployed,” the official at aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), said.
The Boeing 737 aircraft returned to Mumbai due to “loss of cabin pressure” and the pilots have been taken off duty pending investigation, a Jet Airways spokesperson said.
Citing initial information, the official said few passengers have nose bleeding.
“Out of 166 passengers on board, 30 passengers are affected… some have nose bleeding, few have ear bleeding and some are complaining of headache,” he added.
There were 166 passengers and 5 crew members on board flight 9W 697.
The Jet Airways spokesperson expressed regret for the inconvenience caused to passengers and said alternative arrangements are being made for the passengers.
Officials in Mumbai said that five passengers, who suffered nose and ear bleeding, were diagnosed with “mild conductive deafness” and later discharged from hospital.
Mumbai-based Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital’s chief operating officer Rajendra Patankar said their health condition was stable and they did not require admission.
As per their examination by ENT doctors, the five passengers suffered “barotrauma” of ear, which is caused due to a change in air pressure, he said.
“I was sitting on an aisle seat when suddenly air pressure in the cabin dropped and oxygen masks came down. I saw a passenger sitting next to me bleeding from nose. Several others complained of extreme pain in their ears,” Mumbai-based professional Prashant Sharma, who was in the flight, said. He landed there in an alternative flight.
The Civil Aviation Ministry said it has requested the DGCA to immediately file the report on the issue.
“The crew is being derostered. Of the 166 people on board, 30 were affected and have been given treatment,” the ministry said in a tweet.
Against the backdrop of recent incidents related to safety of air passengers, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday ordered a safety audit of all scheduled airlines and airports.