Loss of cabin pressure frightens air passengers above Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Jonathan Hardison

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Have you been inside a plane when the cabin suddenly loses pressure and those yellow oxygen masks drop?

Passengers on a Southwest flight to Birmingham last week found out firsthand. The video is on YouTube.

Southwest Flight 1777 from Orlando to Birmingham was at about 27,000 feet last Thursday when the cabin lost proper pressure.

A passenger whipped out his cell phone and started recording those anxious moments.

As the plane continued its rapid descent towards Birmingham, the flight crew tried to keep passengers calm.

"We're under 10,000 folks, we should be landing shortly into whatever airport we're closest too," says a flight attendant over the intercom. "We're rapidly descending, keep your mask on until we're parked at the gate. Folks you notice the slight smell, it smells a little bit like a burning, scorch. That is normal, that is the oxygen generators operating and that is completely normal."

A couple of minutes in, the pilot was on the intercom telling passengers of the plane's pressure system had malfunctioned.

He credited his crew with helping the flight react quickly and managed to wrap up his message with a return to the normal end-of-flight greeting you hear on every flight.

"Good training and good practice," the pilot says over the intercom. "Pressurization-wise, it wasn't any different than being up on a tall mountain or anything like that. Currently Birmingham is reporting the clear skies you see out there and 70 degrees. We'll be on the ground in about 10 minutes. On behalf of Southwest Airlines, thank you for flying with us."

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