American Airlines flight experiences rapid altitude drop en route to Florida.

Image Credit: © Harrison Hove

Key Points:

  • American Airlines Flight 5916, traveling from Charlotte to Gainesville, faced a sudden drop of over 15,000 feet due to a possible pressurization problem.

  • University of Florida Professor and passenger Harrison Hove detailed the alarming incident on social media, describing the burning smell and rapid altitude drop.

  • The airline confirmed the incident, attributing the descent to pressurization issues, and applauded the crew for ensuring passengers' safety.

CHARLOTTE — On its way to Gainesville, Florida, an American Airlines flight underwent a rapid descent of over 15,000 feet. The flight, departing from Charlotte, North Carolina, faced this challenge due to a suspected pressurization issue. The incident occurred 43 minutes into the flight, causing the plane to plummet 18,600 feet in a mere six minutes.

University of Florida Professor Harrison Hove, who was onboard, took to social media to describe the experience. "The flight was truly alarming," stated Hove. "Despite being an avid traveler, I've never experienced anything quite like this." He further elaborated on the sensory aspects of the situation: "The photos simply don't do justice to the ear-popping noises, sharp bang, or the pungent smell that filled the cabin."

Offering further insights, Hove added, "The acrid odor likely came from the activation of oxygen canisters. The plane's wing flaps were extended to swiftly lower our altitude, ensuring a higher oxygen level. Although the ordeal was harrowing, we are grateful it concluded without any major issues."

Upon safely landing at Gainesville Regional Airport shortly before 5 p.m., American Airlines issued a statement to FOX Business addressing the incident. A spokesperson for the airline clarified, "American Eagle flight 5916, run by Piedmont Airlines, experienced a potential pressurization problem while airborne, prompting the crew to safely and promptly descend to a lower altitude." The representative further extended apologies to the passengers for any distress caused, simultaneously lauding the crew for their commendable handling of the situation.