A passenger, who was onboard the Emirates flight which fell almost 15,000 feet in an air pocket Sunday morning, said he was shocked at "seeing death from close quarters".
The passengers suffered anxious moments when the aircraft from Dubai to Kochi fell sharply from 20,000 feet to 5,000 feet around 7 am before the pilot could bring the plane back under control.
"Some of the passengers were shouting and crying for help. And for three minutes no one knew what was happening. Many were thrown out of their seats, some had their heads hitting the roof of the aircraft. A child was thrown out of the seat. We felt that everything was coming to an end," a relieved Elsy told reporters here.
He said he was "shocked at seeing death from close quarters".
The incident took place about 60 miles from Kochi when the aircraft descended steeply in an air pocket. An air pocket is a downward air current that causes an aircraft to lose altitude abruptly. It is a localised region of low air density or a descending air current, causing an aircraft to suffer an abrupt decrease in height.
Elsy said the passengers clapped when the aircraft landed safely at the Kochi airport. "It was the most joyous event for all the passengers. There was a huge clapping and all the passengers were grateful as they had earlier thought they were leaving the world."
Another passenger Annie Thomas, who was with her husband onboard the flight, said the aircraft shook violently when it abruptly descended in the air pocket. "My husband's head almost hit the roof. Many passengers suffered bruises. I could see a lot of passengers being taken out on wheelchairs," she said.
After the plane landed at the airport in Kochi, a team of doctors examined all those passengers who suffered shock and bruises when the aircraft made the sudden descent in the air pocket.