A United Airlines flight to Rome was forced to descend and return to its origin on Wednesday after a drop in cabin pressure.
The Boeing 777-200 took off from Newark-Liberty International Airport in New Jersey at 9.20 p.m. on its way to Rome reaching a peak altitude of 37,000 feet before the cockpit was alerted to a pressure warning.
The loss of pressure led to a terrifying drop in altitude as the plane dropped 28,000 feet in ten minutes to 8,900 feet, roughly 4 times faster than a regular descent.
The pilots were able to bring the plane under control after the drop and stabilized the altitude at 8,900 feet. They subsequently turned the plane around over Nova Scotia returning to Newark Airport by 12:20 a.m. the following day.
United Flight 510 headed to Rome–Fiumicino International Airport had 270 passengers onboard plus 14 crew members.
Disagreement over the loss of pressure
There seems to be some disagreement on what the cause of the descent was with a spokesperson for United Airlines telling The Messenger that while there were believed to be pressure issues, “there was never any loss of cabin pressure” and there were no injuries.
However, the Federal Aviation Administration, the governing body that regulates flights in the US, explained that the plane experienced a “pressurization issue”, which forced it to return to New Jersey.
The passengers arrived in Rome after a seven-hour delay.