Mid-air horror: 5 Jet Airway passengers suffer mild ear injuries

Have you ever watched a flight attendant dangle an oxygen mask during a routine safety demo, and hoped that you’ll never have to watch one of them pop out above your seat?

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That happened today as the crew forgot to select the switch to maintain cabin pressure, the 9W 697 Mumbai-Jaipur flight soon returned back to Mumbai after take-off

Several passengers complained of severe headaches and at least 30 reported bleeding from nose and ears and were immediately administered first-aid by a team of doctors at the airport. Patients had also complained about mild hearing loss.

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The Jet Airways said it has taken the concerned crew off-duty pending a probe into the incident. An investigation by the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was also launched.

Dr Rajendra Patankar, Chief Operating Officer, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, said, “We have received 5 patients from the airport between 11-12 pm today i.e. September 20, post the incidence of loss in cabin pressure. All the 5 patients are being evaluated by our ENT Consultant.”

He added, “They have suffered barotrauma with bleeding from nose and or ear. All relevant investigation and treatment is being rendered by the medical team. All patients are haemo-dynamically stable as of now and are advised to avoid air travel for at least a week and follow up with the consultant”

Darshak Hathi, a passenger on-board the flight, described that the plane had faced problems from the start.

“After we took off the AC malfunctioned, then air pressure system malfunctioned too and oxygen masks came out. Some of us experienced nose bleeding and headache,” he said.

Dr Sriniwas Chavan, Head of the Department, ENT, Sir JJ Group of Hospital, “When there is a sudden imbalance in the negative air pressure in the ear, it can cause conductive deafness or mild deafness. But, this is not at all a serious condition. Within 2-3 days, the patient can lead back to his normal life. So, we advise the passenger not to travel for a few days.”

Aircraft cabins are pressurised using cooled and filtered air bled from the engines, keeping the air pressure inside the cabin at the equivalent of an altitude of 8,000ft – even though commercial aircraft often fly at 40,000 ft.

Aircraft cabins are pressurised to 75 per cent of the normal atmospheric pressure, a recent study claimed. Lower levels of oxygen in your blood can lead to hypoxia, which can leave you feeling dizzy, fatigued and with headaches.