30 suffer nose, ear bleeds after Jet Airways crew forgets to maintain cabin pressure

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The crew has been taken off duty and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) has started an investigation, an official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.

New Delhi, 20 Sep 2018: A Mumbai-Jaipur Jet Airways flight had to be turned back Wednesday as several passengers suffered nasal and ear bleeding issues allegedly due to the failure of the cock-pit crew to maintain cabin pressure, a DGCA official said. The 9W 697 flight – a Boeing 737 aircraft –  had 166 passengers and five crew on board. Thirty of them suffered injuries, of which five were admitted to Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai and have been released. Rest underwent treatment at the airport hospital.


In a statement issued by Jet Airways, it said, “Five guests who were referred to a hospital for additional medical check-up have since been released. We are also extending full cooperation to the DGCA for the ongoing investigation of the event.”


“During the climb, the crew forgot to select a switch due to which cabin pressurisation could not be maintained… As a result, oxygen masks got deployed,” an official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.


The flight’s cock-pit crew has been taken off-duty and an investigation has been initiated by Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).


Dr Rajendra Patankar, COO, Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital said: “We received five patients from the airport between 11-12 pm today post the incidence of loss in cabin pressure. The patients are being evaluated by our ENT consultant. They have suffered ‘barotrauma’ of ears due to change in air pressure.”


“All relevant investigation and treatment are being rendered by the medical team. All patients are stable as of now and are advised to avoid air travel for at least a week,” he added.


A Jet Airways official 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.” The airline said it will arrange alternate flights for the passengers.


An official at AAIB told PTI that going by the preliminary information, it 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.


The official said the DGCA would look into the incident first and then a decision would be taken on whether the matter should be referred to the AAIB. Serious incidents and accidents are referred to the AAIB for further investigation.


Meanwhile, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has taken cognisance of the matter and has asked DGCA to file an immediate report on the issue. Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu has ordered a comprehensive safety audit of all airlines, airports, flying training schools and maintenance organisations and sought a report within 30 days.


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