TAMPA, Fla. — A Delta flight was halfway through a trip from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale when pilots plunged due to what Delta described as a “cabin pressurization irregularity en route."
Flight 2353 from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, “diverted to Tampa out of an abundance of caution and landed without incident following a cabin pressurization irregularity en route,” a Delta spokesperson said in a statement.
Data posted to Flightaware.com shows the plane descended from 39,000 feet at 4:34 p.m. to 9,975 feet at 4:42 p.m.
Harris DeWoskin, one of the passengers on the plane, said the experience was terrifying.
“I immediately reached out to my girlfriend, my family and let them know some scary stuff is going on right now on the plane. The oxygen masks dropped, let them know I loved them. In hindsight, we turned out alright. Just my intuition, reach out to my family and to the people I know what’s going on I love them,” DeWoskin said.
A FlightAware map shows the plane turning around over the Gulf Of Mexico just south of Tampa. DeWoskin said the plane plunged so fast he didn’t know what was going on.
“Out of nowhere, I felt what felt like a sort of a rapid descent,” DeWoskin said. “We started dropping in altitude and then air masks the oxygen masks dropped from the top of the plane, chaos sort of ensued amongst the passengers. Initially, it was sort of a panic, there wasn’t really any forewarning. The oxygen masks dropped down then one of the flight attendants, I believe, grabbed the intercom and was just repeatedly over the intercom stating ‘do not panic, do not panic,’ but, obviously, it’s a hectic moment. So, the passengers around me a lot of people were kind of hyperventilating breathing really hard.”
Delta said the passengers deplaned in Tampa without incident.
"We apologize to our customers on flight 2353 from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, which diverted to Tampa out of an abundance of caution and landed without incident following a cabin pressurization irregularity en route," Delta said in a statement.
The plane is grounded at TPA and is getting evaluated by maintenance technicians.
DeWoksin was flying to Fort Lauderdale to visit family. He rebooked on a Southwest Flight to Fort Lauderdale and said Delta would reimburse him.
“Life is fragile. There was a scary 60 to 90 seconds where we really didn’t know what was going on,” DeWoskin said. “You are 15,000 feet in the air; it’s a scary moment for sure."