BY JEFF SORENSEN / 02.19.14
In the most terrifying possible scenario happening on a plane, an Ethiopian flight was hijacked on its way to Geneva. The media reported that the passengers really didn’t know what was going on, but as with mainstream media, they didn’t really know what they were reporting. A passenger that was on the flight took to Reddit to answer questions and give their tale of what happened on the flight. Via Reddit:
After entering the plane, I went to my seat: economy class, window-side and next to the right wing. As it was around midnight, I quickly fell asleep during take-off. I was waken up an hour later due to the sound of all the oxygen mask going down. I immediatly thought « what the… » I looked at my neighbor, she seemed as confused at me: the plane was not behaving oddly so I thought it was a simple technical glitch or somebody pressed the wrong button. Everybody looked at each other, thinking what’s going on. Suddenly, a deep and angry voice talked through the cabin radio: “SIT DOWN, PUT YOUR MASKS ON, I’M CUTTING THE OXYGEN”, three times. At this point, I realized that the situation is serious: someone is in the pilot cabin and has hijacked the plane. Within a few seconds, the oxygen went down in the cabin: I felt very lightheaded and quickly decided to put on the oxygen mask like the rest of the passengers.
That all sounds just terrible. What got me though is that the pilot could shut off the oxygen? That doesn’t sound realistic. Thankfully, a Redditor swooped in to explain.
Just so everybody knows, the pilot can’t just “turn the oxygen off to the cabin.” The cabin air isn’t anything more than outside air that has been filtered. It is pulled into the aircraft through a bleed system in the jet engines. There is no supplemental oxygen in the cabin air supply to turn off. It’s just plain air.
What the captain could do is depressurize the cabin, which would make breathing difficult or impossible, forcing people to use the supplemental oxygen masks. But that would be a dangerous move for other reasons.
So, did the passengers really not know that the plane was hijacked despite overwhelmingly obvious evidence?
We were pretty aware. That was the worst part.
That couldn’t have been easy. What did this person do as this all started going down? I’d probably be drinking every airplane bottle of liquor. If I’m going to die in a plane crash, I don’t want to not be annihilated before getting annihilated.
I held hands the whole way with my seat neighbor, a very nice, simple older Italian woman. Every single second of those 6 hours of uncertainty and soon-to-be death was a psychological torture. I broke down, let everything go, said goodbye, though of my family, of moments in the past, of who will inherit my stuff and much more.
I was thinking : that’s it, we’re crashing into something. Looking down to the window I see a light, two, three, I can’t see what’s ahead. It’s still dark. We’re going fast, we’re flying over many houses now. And suddenly, under us, the airport. Just thinking again about this moment makes me shiver. We are landing. WE, are LANDING. Is this true ? Is this a miracle ?
We touched the ground, and the plane eventually stopped completely in a bit away from the plane entrance to the terminal. I remember crying, while most of the people (Italians) were applauding. At this point, for the first time in 6 hours, we got an update from the steward telling us about the copilot, that we are in Geneva and that soon the Swiss police will enter and evacuate the plane.
Well, thankfully this all ended with no one dying and everyone getting to go back to their families, except for the hijacker, obviously. All I would do is sit in my economy class seat and think about the worst possible stuff. With me, it would be worrying about how much the funeral would cost. What went through this persons mind when trying to accept they will probably die?
I think it’s like you are dying in a hospital bed. You’re scared, you know that it’s over soon and you ask yourself a lot of questions: do you have regrets, who will come to your funeral, is this real.. There nothing you can do, so you eventually accept it to 90%.
Yeah, this sounds about right. But, who was released first? That’s what I want to know!
The Swiss entered, released business class, released the crew, released the economy class. By released I mean go outside hand in the air and get checked by a bunch of policemans.
Even in a terrorist hijacking, the rich get led out first. HOGWASH! This is why I travel only by hitchhiking. That’s safer than flying, right?