Passengers aboard Delta Flight 2353 headed to Fort Lauderdale from Atlanta on Wednesday feared for their lives when their plane plunged nearly 30,000 feet in less than seven minutes.
Brandon Tomlinson shared his account of the horrifying event with Buzzfeed News, admitting, “We all sort of thought this is how it’s going to end.” Tomlinson, who was on the flight with his mother and one-year-old son, claims the plane took its suddenly rapid descent about 35 minutes after takeoff before diverting for an emergency landing in Tampa.
“All of a sudden the oxygen masks dropped out and you started hearing this real howling sound, which I think was the engine because the pilot was diving to get below," Tomlinson recalls. "It was like a roller coaster as we were going down. And you can see in the actual flight attendants’ eyes that this was real, this wasn’t something to mess around with."
Delta Air Lines spokesperson Anthony Black told BuzzFeed News that the pilots were warned of a "possible issue with the aircraft depressurization” when they decided to deploy a controlled rapid descent.
While Black admits that a midflight aircraft depressurization issue is “extremely rare,” it’s something that pilots know how to deal with it, as was the case with Flight 2353.
“As a precautionary measure, the crew elected to rapidly descend from 39,000 to 10,000 feet," Black explains. "The goal was to basically get to an altitude where people don't have to wear masks on the aircraft, and it also reduces the issue of depressurization."
“We apologize to our customers on flight 2353 from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, which diverted to Tampa out of an abundance of caution and landed without incident following a cabin pressurization irregularity en route,” Delta said in a statement, per Fox News.
Flight 2353 passengers were eventually taken from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale by bus.