By Cailey Rizzo
July 16, 2018
General shot of a Ryanair plane approaching a runway
Credit: Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/Getty Images

Thirty-three Ryanair passengers were hospitalized Friday after their aircraft lost cabin pressure and was forced to make an emergency landing. Reported injuries included bleeding from the ears, nausea, and headaches.

The European budget airline was operating a flight from Dublin to Zadar, Croatia on July 13 when the cabin suddenly lost pressure about 80 minutes into the flight.

“In line with standard procedure, the crew deployed oxygen masks and initiated a controlled descent,” the airline said in a statement.

“We get on the plane, we’re flying and ... the oxygen mask comes down,” passenger Sarah McGarry told the Irish Times. “We’re left in darkness for 15 minutes, there’s no reassurance just people shouting ‘emergency, emergency’.”

Data from FlightRadar24 shows the plane descended more than 25,000 feet in just seven minutes. The flight made an emergency landing in Frankfurt, Germany.

Of the 189 passengers onboard, 33 were admitted to a local hospital for treatment. All injured passengers left the hospital by the following day.

A German investigative team is looking into the cause of the sudden depressurization.

When a plane loses cabin pressure, the temperature inside drops. Passengers feel great discomfort in their ears and eyes, but the main health risk is low oxygen. Depending on the altitude of the plane, passengers could only have about 18 seconds to put on their oxygen masks before they pass out from hypoxia (a lack of oxygen).

In the event of sudden depressurization, pilots are trained to bring the plane down to altitudes where the air is warmer and more oxygenated.