A Delta Airlines flight which departed the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at Timehri for New York this morning was diverted to San Juan in Puerto Rico some three hours later for an emergency landing.
According to the airline’s website, the DAL 0834 flight aircraft departed Timehri at 8:32 am and the Boeing 767 aircraft landed at the Luis Munoz Marin International airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico at 11:47 am after losing cabin pressure.
Oxygen masks were deployed within the aircraft, a passenger told Stabroek News.
The aircraft landed safely at the airport in Puerto Rico, an airline source locally noted, while passengers waited for several hours as another aircraft was being sourced to complete the flight. The passengers remained in Puerto Rico for several hours this afternoon and were expected to depart the island around 7:30 pm for completion of the flight to New York.
The emergency landing in Puerto Rico came ironically on the same day that it was clearing up from Hurricane Irene which had raked the island last night. The hurricane had caused the closing of the airport but it was later reopened.
The loss of cabin pressure in aircraft is not unusual to the aviation industry. Loss of cabin pressure is characterized by a sudden drop in altitude during flight and consequently, a loss of oxygen within the aircraft. It is sometimes caused by a leak in the aircraft such as a door not being locked properly.
The occurrence results in passengers and crew having to use oxygen masks and would require the pilot and crew to take emergency action to descend, in most cases to make an emergency landing.
A Caribbean Airlines flight operating between Jamaica and Barbados was recently believed to have endured the same problem.