Wednesday 18 January 2012

Passengers feared death after cabin crew accidentally issued emergency landing message


Duncan and Tracey Farquharson were flying to London from Miami when a recorded message came over the public address system announcing that the aircraft was going down. Passengers on board began panicking, believing that they would be killed before a flight attendant apologised, saying the message was a mistake. However, the pair yesterday accused the airline of trivialising passengers’ concerns, claiming that staff issued a “blasé” apology and did not explain the error until hours later when they were coming in to land at Heathrow. Mr Farquharson, 58, an engineer from Twickenham, London, said: “We were about three hours into the flight when an automated message came over the tannoy saying: ‘This is an emergency, we will shortly be making an emergency landing on water’. “We looked at each other and figured we were both about to die. Families with children were distraught and people were in tears. It was very distressing. “About 30 seconds later one of the cabin crew told us to ignore the announcement and accept their apologies but the tone of suggested they had not grasped how seriously we had taken it. “Imagining yourself plunging towards a cold, watery grave in the middle of the Atlantic is a pretty horrific thought but they seemed very blasé about it.” Mrs Farquharson, 51, an administrator, added: “The captain didn’t even say anything about it until when we were coming in to land and even that did not explain what had happened. “It still makes me very emotional thinking about it now – it was very traumatic. We’re going to complain to British Airways about the way we were treated.” A British Airways spokesman said cabin crew apologised for the incident aboard the flight on Friday night and that staff spoke to passengers individually to reassure them. The spokesman said: "A pre-recorded emergency announcement was activated in error on our flight from Miami to Heathrow on Saturday January 14. "The cabin crew cancelled the announcement immediately and sought to reassure customers that the flight was operating normally. "We would like to apologise to passengers on the flight for causing them undue concern. "We take such matters seriously as safety is our paramount concern." Share:     inShare 5 UK News News » How about that? » Murray Wardrop » IN UK NEWS   Bafta 2012 nominees   London Art Fair 2012   Telegraph readers' photos   We Are Not The Dead   Crazy customised coffins