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Airline accidentally plays crash warning message to passengers

By Leigh Goessl     Jan 17, 2012 in Travel
London - On a recent flight out of Miami, Florida, travelers were alarmed after an airline made an accidental emergency announcement directing passengers to prepare for a water landing.
Reportedly, the crew on flight BA 0206 accidentally played the wrong message to passengers.
The flight was fine and passengers were not in danger. However, for those brief moments, they thought they were preparing for a dramatic crash.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the cabin crew accidentally played the recording, "'This is an emergency, we will shortly be making an emergency landing on water."
It was three hours into the flight, and about 3 a.m. on Friday, when the alert was played. At this point of the flight traveling from Miami to London, the plane was about 35,000 feet (10,668 meters) above water.
People began to panic thinking their flight would be crashing into the ocean.
“We looked at each other and figured we were both about to die. Families with children were distraught and people were in tears. It was very distressing," said passenger Duncan Farquharson who was traveling with his wife. “About 30 seconds later one of the cabin crew told us to ignore the announcement and accept their apologies but the tone of suggested they had not grasped how seriously we had taken it."
“Imagining yourself plunging towards a cold, watery grave in the middle of the Atlantic is a pretty horrific thought but they seemed very blasé about it," Farquharson said.
While the mistake was corrected shortly by the crew after the wrong announcement had been made, passengers were upset the pilot did not provide, nor did he say anything at all, until the flight arrived at Heathrow Airport. Media reports say the pilot hit the wrong announcement because the buttons are close together.
Tracey Farquharson said, “The captain didn’t even say anything about it until when we were coming in to land and even that did not explain what had happened. It still makes me very emotional thinking about it now – it was very traumatic."
An updated Telegraph report said a British Airways spokesman said, "The cabin crew cancelled the announcement immediately and sought to reassure customers that the flight was operating normally. We apologise to customers for causing them undue concern."
This is not the first time British Airways has made this same error. In Aug. 2010 passengers were alarmed during a London to Hong Kong flight when the same recording was played as the plane crossed the North Sea.
Aer Lingus made an unintended emergency landing announcement during a 2009 flight from Dublin to Paris.
Another flight did have a recent unexpected landing, albeit not an emergency. Earlier today, Digital Journal reported a Delta flight traveling from Atlanta to Costa Rica had to unexpectedly land in Tampa, Fla. after two passengers became 'unruly'.
More about British airways, Emergency landing, crash warning message, Air travel, Aer Lingus
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