Delayed takeoff, severe turbulence, and landing at an alternate airport – Passengers of a Southwest Airlines flight told the media about a short flight that was supposed to turn into a 9-hour ordeal. The plane was reportedly shaking so badly on approach to landing that one passenger had a panic attack and fainted.
WNCN quoted Nicholas Reed, who was on the plane with girlfriend Kris Spence, as saying that the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 flight from Baltimore to Raleigh, North Carolina, took place on the evening of March 3, but had problems from the start. The takeoff took place after a delay of several tens of minutes, when the plane was standing on the apron with its engines running.
After takeoff, the aircraft entered turbulence until its wings “flapped” and “jiggled” as it began its approach to land in Raleigh. The tremors were so strong that, according to the couple, they frightened the passengers on board. One of them had a panic attack and lost consciousness. At least three more were about to start vomiting. There were two people vomiting near us. Everyone was silent. I think they were just nervous, like (thinking) “It might be the case,” Reed assesses, describing the incident as “pretty scary.”
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Change of landing place
After 15 minutes, the captain of the plane informed the passengers that the plane had to change its destination airport and would land in Myrtle Beach, about 300 kilometers from Raleigh. The machine was only 400 meters above the ground at that time. Chris Spence said employees told the passengers that another plane would pick them up from Myrtle Beach. However, after landing at the alternate airport, passengers were said to have spent two hours on board before being released to the terminal during the night, where they spent another four hours.
Reid and Spence say the passengers were not taken care of after landing in Myrtle Beach, and all airport services were closed at the time. – We couldn’t go anywhere because they didn’t give us our luggage. A group of guys found a bar, went to it and started pouring themselves drinks because there was no security,” Reid recalls. The replacement plane that took all the passengers to Raleigh didn’t arrive at Myrtle Beach Airport until after 1 a.m. In the end, the flight that took It was supposed to take 75 minutes 9 hours.
Statement from the airline
Southwest Airlines commented on the flight. On Saturday, March 4, they released a statement saying that the decision to change the landing site was made “due to weather conditions” at Raleigh Airport. These conditions also meant that the plane used up too much fuel and had to change its landing site. The carrier apologized for the inconvenience caused to passengers and encouraged in a message to contact its customer service team “in case of any doubts”.
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Main image source: Robin Jess/Shutterstock
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