Another Southwest flight forced to make terrifying emergency landing after cabin loses pressure

David McNew/Getty ImagesFour passengers asked medical personnel to evaluate ear pain after the Southwest Airlines flight landed.
  • A Southwest Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Dallas on Saturday evening after the cabin started to lose pressure, the airline has confirmed to Business Insider.
  • SouthwestFlight 861 was travelling from Denver to Dallas when the oxygen masks deployed and passengers were asked to put them on.
  • An airline representative told Business Insider there were 120 passengers on the flight, four of whom asked medical personnel to evaluate ear pain after landing.

A Southwest Airlines flight made an emergency landing in Dallas on Saturday evening after the cabin started to lose pressure, the airline has confirmed to Business Insider.

Southwest Flight 861 was travelling from Denver to Dallas when the oxygen masks deployed and passengers were asked to put them on. An airline representative told Business Insider there were 120 passengers on the flight, four of whom asked medical personnel to evaluate ear pain after landing.

“The crew of Flight 861 travelling from Denver to Dallas Saturday night radioed ahead for paramedics to meet the aircraft after a pressurization issue in flight,” the representative said. “Following an uneventful landing, initial reports indicate four of the 120 customers onboard requested a check from paramedics to assess ear pain. All of the customers were ending their journey with us in Dallas, as was the aircraft, which underwent a maintenance review.”

A passenger named Glen Eichelberger told a Dallas CBS affiliate he wished the flight’s crew had provided more information about the circumstances that led the oxygen masks to be released.

“I had no idea what was going on or what the outcome was going to be,” Eichelberger said, adding: “There was no communication whatsoever from the flight attendants or from the cockpit as far whether we were in mortal danger.”

Eichelberger told the outlet he disagreed with Southwest’s description of the landing as “uneventful.”

“When you’re in the air 20,000 feet above the ground and don’t know what’s going on, it’s not uneventful,” he said.

This is at least the 3rd emergency landing for Southwest in the past month

Flight 861 marked at least the third emergency landing for a Southwest flight in recent weeks.

On April 17, a flight from New York to Dallas made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an engine failure that sent debris through the cabin. One passenger died in that incident after being partially sucked out of a window.

On May 2, a Southwest flight from Chicago to Newark, New Jersey, made an emergency landing in Cleveland because of a cracked window. Southwest told Business Insider that the plane maintained pressurization throughout the flight and that the broken window was not the result of an engine failure.

Robert Sumwalt, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the passenger’s death in April was the first in a US passenger airline accident in over nine years. Before that, the most recent was in February 2009 when an aircraft operated by the now defunct regional airline Colgan Air crashed near Buffalo, New York, leaving 49 people on the plane and one person on the ground dead.

The NTSB has said a full investigation of the April 17 flight will take at least a year. On May 1, the Federal Aviation Administration said it ordered new inspections of fan blades in aircraft similar to the ones used by Southwest.

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