WATCH: FlySafair passengers prepare for the worst as oxygen masks deploy

2016-01-26 15:40 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town -  There has been a heap of reaction to the recent double emergency landings by a FlySafair plane operating on the flight route between Johannesburg and Cape Town - with the most recent Flight FA103 forced to turn back to OR Tambo International on Sunday, after a rapid descent forced the oxygen masks to be deployed.

A number of passengers have come forward to detail their experience as "terrifying"and "shockingly unprofessional".

READ: FlySafair passenger: Nose-dive so severe I thought left ear would explode

Another reader, Travis Talmarkes, who managed to film a clip of the situation inside the plane following the rapid descent contacted Traveller24 saying "like many of the passengers on board, I said what I thought would be my last prayers for my friends and family and prepared for the worst."

"Some of the comments directed towards the pilots and crew is that there was a lack of communication. There were 153 passengers on board, that leaves each flight attend to see to the needs (and questions) of around 30 people. It’s impossible for them to communicate to everyone on an individual basis. I for one, am glad that the pilot did not immediately communicate to us during the incident, because I would want the one man who was responsible for getting us home safely, to have his full attention on the matter at hand.

"I feel that Captain Banda and Charles Peck deserve recognition for remaining calm and in control of the situation, and for getting us all home safely. Once we were headed back to OR Tambo Captain Banda did in fact make an announcement to all of the passengers. He made his announcement once the situation was under control and we were headed back to OR Tambo. 

"In the brief video clip I managed to get (once it was confirmed that we were fine) and from what I saw, all the seats had masks securely attached. We only removed the masks once we were below 10000 and it was announced that we could remove them as it was no longer necessary."

Talmarkes said that while FlySafair could have improved on its communication on the ground at OR Tambo, "it should also be noted that people were given the choice to fly with a different airline, but the majority of the passengers felt confident enough in the FlySafair crew to take the 11pm flight to cape town – even though their tickets with any other airline would have been fully paid for."

"I was one of those who chose to fly home with them on the 11pm flight. I also don’t see an issue in flying with them again."

FlySafair has come out in defence of its crew saying protocol was followed correctly throughout the situation and that the airline complies with the Civil Aviation Safety Standards. Kirby Gordon, spokesperson for FlySafair said, “From a pilot’s perspective they actually have a very clear order of procedures. Pilots are required to Aviate, Navigate and then Communicate – in that order. 

“A common concern from passengers is that the pilot didn’t say anything when the safety actions were taken.  ‘Rapid descent’ indicates the course of action to the crew so that they know what to do. It’s then up to the pilot to steer the aircraft onto a safe course, before addressing the passengers – depending on the situation this can be 10 – 15min later – as soon as the flight path is stabilised.” 

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