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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Samy Vellu has a scare in the air

Sudden loss of cabin pressure on his fight from India to KL forces pilot to drop from 39,000 feet to 10,000 feet and make an emergency landing at the Penang International Airport

PETALING JAYA: Former MIC president S Samy Vellu had a fright of his life when a Malaysian Airlines (MAS) flight from Chennai to the Kuala Lumpur developed technical problems this morning, forcing the aircraft to drop from 39,000 feet to a mere 10,000 feet in matter of minutes.

The drop, due to sudden loss of cabin pressure, occurred at about 7.30 this morning on flight MH181, which was carrying Samy Vellu, the country’s special envoy to India and South Asia.

Realising massive loss of compressed air, the pilot made a public announcement asking crew and passengers to enter into an emergency defence mode while the pilot made the drop.

“There were 120 passengers on the flight, and everyone panicked on seeing the sea coming up at them,” E Sivabalan, the principal secretary to the former Works Minister, told FMT.

“Everyone thought the plane was heading for trouble, and many of passengers were screaming, even the person next to me was crying,” he added.

Samy Vellu was flying back home after an official assignment in Chennai.

Sivabalan said passengers of the flight were not told the real reason for the aircraft’s nosedive throughout the half-an-hour ordeal.

Several flight delayed

The whole experience was made more traumatic when it was found that many emergency masks on the aircraft were not functioning.

“The oxygen masks which was supposed to drop from the overhead compartment did not come out. Many passengers found that they did not have masks. The oxygen mask at my seat did not come down, and I was asked to move to another seat,” he said.

The pilot made an emergency landing in Penang at about 8am. Though Samy Vellu had a scare, Sivabalan said the former MIC president did not plan to pursue the matter.

“In fact he met the captain later and congratulated him for managing to control the plane,” Sivabalan said.

Meanwhile, Bernama quoting Penang International Airport senior manager Mohd Arif Jaafar, said the flight landed at 8.04am after the pilot informed the control tower that the aircraft was experiencing technical problems.

“The flight departed from Chennai, India to KLIA. Enroute, the pilot reported technical difficulties. We gave permission to land in Penang out of safety concerns of the passengers,” he said.

Mohd Arif Jaafar said the minor scare resulted in several flights being delayed at the Penang International Airport. Passengers of MH181 were transferred to another aircraft to continue their journey.

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