A Ryanair passenger is accusing the airline of deliberately “downplaying” the severity of an emergency landing on Friday after dozens were sent to the hospital with bleeding ears and headaches upon landing.
The flight, which had left from Dublin, Ireland, experienced an “inflight depressurization” en route to Zadar, Croatia, forcing a premature landing at the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in Germany, the airline confirmed in a statement obtained by Fox News.
Ryanair also added that a “small number” of passengers “received medical attention as a precaution.”
“In line with standard procedure, the crew deployed oxygen masks and initiated a controlled descent. The aircraft landed normally and customers disembarked, where a small number received medical attention as a precaution,” reads the official statement.
But Barry Holden, a passenger who spoke with The Irish Times, feels Ryanair is downplaying the event. Police in Frankfurt reportedly confirmed that 33 of the 189 passengers were taken to a hospital — some with bleeding of the ears — although Holden claims he was told he was the 43rd person treated by German Red Cross workers.
“How many were registered after me I’m unaware. However, a quarter [of the passengers] is not a ’small’ number in my mind,” said Holden, adding that Ryanair’s statement was a “careful downplaying of events.”
Passengers were treated for everything from nausea to headaches to earaches, ABC News reported, with others bleeding from the nose, mouth and ears, according to German outlet Spiegel Online.
“I can safely say it was the most terrifying thing I ever experienced,” passenger Roxanne Brownlee told ABC News.
“The worst moments of my whole life,” another passenger, Minerva Galvan, wrote on Twitter. “You are in the air and one moment after you are just falling in the sky, your ears burn, there is no air and your mouth taste like iron.”
“Nightmare Ryanair flight FR7312 on way to Croatia,” wrote another, who criticized the airline for the accommodations provided following the emergency landing in Germany. “Overnight in military base camp beds — good old Ryanair[-] style customer service. Cutting costs and more profit for Ryanair all at the expense of customer safety. Shame on you [Ryanair CEO] Michael O’Leary].”
In the airline’s statement, however, Ryanair admitted that there were not enough available accommodations for passengers waiting to be rebooked the following day.
“Customers were provided with refreshment vouchers and hotel accommodation was authorized, however there was a shortage of available accommodation. Customers boarded a replacement aircraft which departed to Zadar the following morning and Ryanair sincerely apologized for any inconvenience.”