Health

Passengers bleed from ears, noses after Indian flight loses cabin pressure

More than two dozen passengers on a flight operated by India’s biggest full-service carrier, Jet Airways, were treated for minor injuries Thursday after their plane lost cabin pressure and was forced to turn back, aviation authorities said.

Shortly after takeoff from the financial capital of Mumbai, the flight crew forgot to select a switch to maintain cabin pressure and oxygen masks were deployed, India’s civil aviation regulator said.

The plane returned to Mumbai, where 30 of its 166 passengers were treated for minor injuries, including headaches and bleeding from the nose or ears, the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement.

Jet Airways said the flight’s cockpit crew had been taken off scheduled duties until an investigation into the incident was completed. The airline will also co-operate with the DGCA on the investigation, Jet Airways said in a statement on Twitter.

Videos of the incident taken by passengers quickly went viral on social media, focusing public attention on the airline at a time when it is struggling to cut costs and embroiled in a pay dispute with pilots.

The airline, partly owned by Etihad Airways, posted a loss of about $189 million US for the April-June quarter and said last month that it would inject funds and cut costs to try to stem losses.

India’s civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered the DGCA to conduct a safety audit of all airlines, airports, flying training schools and maintenance facilities in the country and submit a report within 30 days.