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Passengers panic as Delta flight plunges nearly 30,000 feet in under 8 minutes

Delta Airlines Boeing 777 (Lasse Fuss/WikiCommons)
September 22, 2019

Delta passengers on their way from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, received a major scare Wednesday as their plane dropped nearly 30,000 feet in the space of under eight minutes, forcing a diversion to Tampa.

Data from flight-tracking site FlightAware shows Delta Flight 2353 diving from an altitude of 39,000 feet to 9,975 feet in the span of about 7 ½ minutes.

“While in flight between Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale Delta flight 2353 made a rapid, controlled descent due to a possible aircraft depressurization issue,” Delta spokesman Anthony Black told USA TODAY. He added that the aircraft is being evaluated by maintenance technicians.

“Air masks – the oxygen masks dropped – from the top of the plane. Chaos sort of ensued amongst the passengers,” passenger Harris Dewoskin said told Atlanta news station WSB-TV.

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Although a flight attendant told passengers not to panic, Dewoskin said “It was a hectic moment so the passengers around me — a lot of people were kind of hyperventilating.”

Passenger Tiffany Sawyer tweeted her compliments to the flight crew, who she says were “awesome” at “keeping people calm.”

fellow passenger tweeted, “God Bless the Captain and crew. Had an emergency midair from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale. Oxygen masks deployed and we descended quickly and we’re diverted to Tampa. I texted my wife and dad I loved them. Told my mom I love her and hugged my son.”

According to FlightAware, The Boeing 767-300 departed Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at 3:57 p.m. EDT and flew south along the west coast of Florida until 4:54 p.m., when it was diverted to Tampa.

Route data shows the plane turning around over the Gulf of Mexico near the Sarasota/Bradenton area before doubling back to Tampa International Airport, where it landed at 5:10 p.m.

Passengers were then transported from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale by bus later that evening.

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© 2019 USA Today