Aviation Law Expert Expresses Concern Over Similar Incident Earlier This Year
Expert aviation lawyers from Irwin Mitchell are calling on authorities to act quickly to provide answers for passengers after a Ryanair flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Frankfurt on Wednesday reportedly leaving 13 people injured following a serious cabin pressurisation problem.
Reports say three people were examined in hospital after the Ryanair flight from Bergamo, Italy, to East-Midlands airport quickly descended from 31,000 to 10,000 before diverting and landing at Frankfurt airport in Germany. Another 10 suffered minor injuries.
The call for action comes after media reports revealed there was a similar incident on 6 February when another Ryanair Boeing 737-800 made an emergency landing after suffering a decompression while flying from Bergamo to Charleroi in Belgium and expert lawyers say any possible links between the two incidents must be carefully investigated immediately.
The latest aircraft has been examined, but the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation said the full investigation could take up to a year.
Specialist aviation lawyer Jim Morris, a former RAF Boeing AWACS pilot and partner in the Irwin Mitchell aviation team said: “It is deeply concerning that it seems two very similar incidents have happened so close together from the same airline and both involving Boeing aircraft.
“Authorities must act quickly to investigate why the decompressions happened and if there is any link between the incidents as the cabin pressurisation is crucial for ensuring that passengers and crew have enough oxygen. Above 10,000 feet the air becomes too thin to supply enough oxygen so the cabin air needs to be pressurised by bleed air taken from the aircraft engines.
“At 30,000 – 40,000 feet, the height at which airliners cruise, a person could become unconscious (hypoxic) in seconds if there is a rapid decompression and they are unable to don their oxygen mask quickly.
“From the limited information available on this Ryanair incident, it appears that the crew have followed the emergency drills for a pressurisation problem by descending rapidly to from 31,000 feet to 10,000 feet. This rapid descent is a dramatic manoeuvre for an airliner, which can cause injuries to passengers not strapped in along with damage to eardrums as the air pressure changes rapidly.
“In addition to the risk of physical injuries, it would have been a very traumatic experience for the passengers as the aircraft plunged at a rapid rate of descent. The seriousness of this incident is confirmed by reports that passengers could hear the captain declaring a may day.
“Passengers need prompt answers about why there was a sudden drop in air pressure as well as reassurances that their safety when travelling is the airline’s top priority and measures are put in place to prevent a further repeat incident. This will enable the airline industry to learn lessons and improve flight safety.”
In a statement Ryanair apologised to all the passengers affected by the diversion and delay on Wednesday.
Irwin Mitchell is currently acting for a passenger injured in a separate Ryanair incident and has extensive experience in acting for people injured and killed in accidents involving Boeing aircraft.
The aviation team currently acts for the family of a British passenger killed in a crash after takeoff from Beirut of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 in January 2010 and acted for the families of passengers killed in the crash of a Kenya Airways Boeing 737-800, which crashed in Cameroon shortly after takeoff in May 2007 killing 114 passengers and crew.