Günther Kellermann and his wife were really looking forward to the joint Mediterranean cruise from Palma de Mallorca. But what they experienced on board Corendon Airlines’ Boeing 737-85R can only be described as a “flight from hell”, as the 46-year-old describes the flight on Sunday morning (June 12, 2022) from Nuremberg Airport. The machine had to make an emergency landing due to a sudden drop in pressure. But the real horror only began afterwards, as can be seen from Kellermann’s descriptions.
“At 7.03 a.m. we left the runway with a little delay. I know that because I have a little soft spot for something like that,” Kellermann recalls inFranken.de. After about an hour of flight, there was suddenly “a smell of burning plastic in the back of the machine.” The alleged co-pilot had come to look for the cause: “Suddenly the pilot yelled loudly over the loudspeaker that he should come forward,” said the Middle Franconian.
“Then the flaps opened and the masks fell off. You could see that the situation was getting serious. The angle of inclination, that was a really sporty descent,” he says. However, there was another problem: “After a short time, the mask no longer gave any oxygen, it contracted like a vacuum. My wife was afraid of suffocating,” says Kellermann. He left the mask off, but was increasingly worried about smoke inhalation because of the smell of fire. “I then put on the FFP2 mask.”
It was very quiet on the plane. Shock instead of panic. Within 20 minutes, the plane turned around and made an emergency landing at Basel airport. During the descent, more and more passengers complained of ear pain. “After landing, the doors suddenly opened. I’m not an expert, but the difference in pressure was so enormous, there was a huge bang, like an explosion. The eardrums of several of the passengers we saw and many more, as we learned afterwards, burst. The blood ran out of their ears,” says Kellermann.
The travelers from Nuremberg were then medically examined in Basel in a separate compartment at the airport. Many of them were taken directly to the clinic. Middle Franconia was not doing well either. He suddenly had “a really bad cough,” he says. “The doctor also wanted to admit me to the clinic because he couldn’t rule out the possibility that I was having a small heart attack,” says Kellermann. “But he didn’t assume it was anything life-threatening and our ship in Palma would have been gone.”
Because good medical care is also guaranteed on the cruise ship, he and his wife decided to continue flying. “However, we were always put off in Basel about the next flight and we had booked our own travel,” said the 46-year-old. On the unofficial advice of an airport attendant, he then booked a connecting flight at 4 p.m. at his own expense. “We still haven’t heard from the airline what the problem was and nothing about our flight,” says Kellermann.
The couple from the Fürth district have been on the cruise ship since Sunday evening. There the two try to recover from the shock experience in the Nuremberg Mallorca plane. Back in Germany, they want to have a thorough medical check-up again. Apart from slight hearing problems, he is fine again, says Günther Kellermann. “We just hope everything will be fine and enjoy our journey.”
What passenger Kellermann describes as a “flight into hell” is “rare” from the point of view of the Corendon airline, but not “unusual”, as a spokesman told inFranken.de. The airline’s staff is “precisely trained” for such cases, the spokesman said.
“After reaching the flight altitude, the cockpit crew noticed that the pressure in the cabin was slowly decreasing. In the first step, however, they did not find anything, whereupon it was decided, strictly according to regulations, to head for the next airport in descent. The crew also decided to drop the oxygen masks.”
There was “no feedback” that the masks did not work. The masks and oxygen bottles are “regularly serviced,” the spokesman said. “Of course, there are always subjective feelings among passengers as to whether the oxygen is coming or not, some don’t even know that they have to pull jerkily, although this is explained in the safety briefing before each flight.”
Corendon is also not aware of the fact that there was a bang, as a result of which the eardrums burst. “The incident is currently being investigated, we are still waiting for the report. About 15 people had to be treated medically after landing,” said Corendon.
And what was the reason for the Nuremberg incident? “The machine was put through its paces, but as of today no exact cause was found, the plane then goes back into service regularly.” The whole thing is “not that unusual, it happens sometimes, albeit rarely, most crews know that. This has happened twice at Corendon since 2005,” says the spokesman.
Overall, “over 150 passengers flew with us to Mallorca on Sunday evening, there were some who no longer wanted to fly with us, they took care of alternative transport”. Anyone who receives medical care and wants to return to Germany should “contact our customer center” about inquiries about transport cost absorption, says the spokesman for Corendon Airlines.
This article was written by Daniel Krüger
The original of this post “Traveller describes dramatic emergency landing in Mallorca plane: “Blood ran out of ears”” comes from inFranken.de.