Virgin Atlantic cabin crew expert details onboard medical services
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Major disasters onboard aeroplanes are rare, with just one fatal accident involving commercial passenger planes for every 5.58 million flights according to the latest air safety report from Dutch aviation consultancy To70. However, with flight attendants spending most of their working life flying, it is no surprise many will experience an emergency situation at one point or another.
Such was the case for one cabin crew member, who shared their experience in a Reddit forum dedicated to flight attendant stories.
The crew member, who withheld their name, explained the “craziest” thing they ever witnessed happened when a “mechanical error” forced the plane to plummet around 20,000ft.
“Craziest thing I’ve witnessed was an actual mechanical error where there was a decompression,” they explained.
“So that’s crazy in terms of actual flying.
“We lost air pressure and they had to drop the plane to the normal level which is under ten thousand feet.
“The whole cabin started fogging up because when you lose the pressure it suddenly goes from hot to cold.”
However, as in many cases, this did not result in a major or fatal incident due to the skills of those navigating the aircraft.
The flight attendant continued: “Luckily the junior pilot knew what she was doing and was able to level out the plane.”
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Loss of pressure onboard an aircraft usually results in a loss of oxygen too.
This can happen, for example, if there is a hole or leak in the plane.
Pilots are then tasked with getting the aircraft down to a safe altitude where everyone can breathe normally. Often, this must be done at speed.
Though cabin decompression may sound scary to your typical passenger, it is actually quite a common occurrence and something which crew members are trained to handle.
A pilot previously told Express.co.uk: “For a depressurisation, we will perform a memory drill called an emergency descent.
“This effectively puts the aircraft into a safe descent as quickly as possible but as safely as possible.
“As pilots, we would put on our oxygen masks before doing anything to make sure we are both safe to breathe.
“The descent continues down to below 14,000ft where the air is safe to breathe.”
Decompression scenarios usually result in oxygen masks being automatically released within the cabin for passengers to use.
Passengers tend to be briefed on how to use masks in an emergency situation when they board the flight.
Though the idea of an oxygen loss may seem scary, the pilot warned passengers should remain calm and follow instructions.
“I would advise not to panic as the crew are trained for it. Put your oxygen mask on and try to remain calm,” the pilot added.
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