A passenger on a Jet2 flight has relived the terrifying moment he thought he and his family were going to die.
Darren Wall was returning from holiday with his fiancée Claire Chamberlain and their two children when the plane they were travelling suffered a cabin pressure failure.
The flight, from Faro, Portugal, was heading to Leeds Bradford Airport when it suffered the failure and was forced to descend 26,000 feet.
Mr Wall said: “We were flying and it was just normal. We were at cruising altitude and the seat belt signs were off.
“It was probably about half an hour into the flight when all of a sudden your ears just hurt like hell and people were finding it hard to breathe.
“The captain came on and he said, ‘Rapid descent, rapid descent,’ and we had to drop massively because the cabin pressure went down.
“We could see the cabin crew panicking like hell, but they still looked after us.
“It was a very scary, traumatic experience, I can tell you. We actually thought we were going to crash, we thought we were going to die.”
The plane dropped from cruising altitude, roughly 36,000 feet, to 10,000 feet in a matter of seconds.
Mr Wall said: “You see it in films, but you never think you’ll experience it. People were fainting and passing out and oxygen masks came down.”
After the sudden descent, the plane encountered extreme turbulence and was forced to make an emergency landing in Bordeaux.
A number of passengers required medical attention and some were taken to hospital.
Mr Wall, who lives in York but is originally from Wakefield, praised the response of the airport staff.
He said: “Jet2 was amazing. The French staff at the airport were amazing, they looked after us so well and gave us food and drink.
“We waited about 4 hours in the airport and when the replacement came the flight was faultless. The captain was lovely, they let kids in the cockpit. It was so smooth you didn’t even know you were flying.”
An official statement from Jet2 said: “Flight LS252 from Faro to Leeds Bradford diverted to Bordeaux Airport on Friday 10 August due to a technical fault.
“The flight crew followed standard procedure and made a controlled descent before landing safely. We would like to emphasise that at no point was the safety of anyone on board compromised.
“A replacement aircraft was flown to Bordeaux so customers could continue their journey home, and we would like to apologise to all those customers affected. The aircraft will remain on the ground and a team of engineers is carrying out a thorough investigation into the cause of the fault. At all times the safety of our customers is our number one priority.”