30 suffer nose, ear bleeds after Jet Airways crew forgets to press a switch

New Delhi, Sep 20 2018 : Around 30 passengers on a Jet Airways Mumbai-Jaipur flight suffered ear and nose bleeds due to low cabin pressure during the flight’s climb. Five of those affected had to be hospitalised.

The flight — a Boeing 737 — immediately turned back and landed in Mumbai where the affected passengers, some of whom also complained of headaches, were offloaded and were attended to by doctors at the airport. The flight — a 9w 697 service that departs from Mumbai at around 6am every day — was carrying 166 passengers and five crew members. Sources told India Today TV that during the climb, the Jet Airways crew forgot to activate what is known as the “bleed switch”.

Because of this, the air pressure in the cabin dropped and oxygen masks got deployed. After the plane landed in Mumbai, doctors attended to the affected passengers. Five passengers had to be admitted to Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital.

The five have been diagnosed with barotrauma (damage to lung due to pressure change), Dr Rajendra Patankar, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said. “They are under observation… Some are suffering from mild conductive deafness, which might continue till a week. We have advised them not to fly again till they recover.”

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which regulates civil aviation in India, has taken both pilots off duty.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) took note of the incident and said that it has sought an immediate report from the DGCA.

MoCA has taken cognizance of the incident in flight 9W 697 earlier today and has requested DGCA to file its report immediately on the issue. The crew is being derostered. Of the 166 people on board, 30 were affected and have been given treatment.

Jet Airways confirmed the incident in a statement saying that the pilots have been taken off duty pending an investigation.

“[The flight] made an air turn back due to loss in cabin pressure… [and] landed normally in Mumbai,” a Jet Airways spokesperson said.

“All guests were deplaned safely and taken to the terminal. First aid was administered to few guests who complained of ear pain, bleeding nose etc,” the spokesperson also said. (PTI)