The Pasco-bound passengers on a SkyWest flight out of Minneapolis cheered the flight crew for its handling of an inflight emergency Thursday.
SkyWest/Delta Connections Flight 4505, with 55 passengers, landed safely after a loss of cabin air pressure released oxygen masks and led to a rapid descent to the Tri-Cities Airport, according to a passenger on the plane.
Tyler Borders, a Kennewick marketing consultant, was returning home after giving a presentation in Indianapolis. He said he noticed he felt sleepy and nauseous about an hour into the flight and was initially confused when oxygen masks dropped about 30 minutes away from Pasco.
The veteran traveler said he doesn’t usually feel sick when flying.
Sleepy passengers weren’t sure what to make of the masks. But Borders credited the flight crew with calmly helping everyone put them on. Borders said he felt more awake within minutes of putting on the oxygen mask.
He heard the pilot announce an “emergency landing” as the plane rapidly descended to 10,000 feet, apparently to improve oxygen levels.
Everything is going to be OK.
SkyWest pilot on Flight 4505
Borders said he didn’t recall the crew announcing anything about the cause of the problem, but said the captain reassured passengers that “Everything is going to be OK.”
Most applauded the crew when the plane landed, he said.
SkyWest, which operates as Delta Connection, issued a statement that the crew received a mechanical alert while in the air. Once it landed, the aircraft was being inspected by mechanics, it said.
The airline did not indicate the type of plane on the route but it typically flies a Canadian-built CRJ 700 for the 5404 run. The plane in use Thursday seemed to be new, said Borders, mentioning the “new airplane smell.”
“Ironically, I had a friend recently say he didn’t trust new planes because, ‘They made things better in the old days.’ This crossed my mind up there.”
Sky West is an independent affiliate of Delta Airlines, which said it will reach out to passengers on the flight to provide a “goodwill gesture.”