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Spirit Airlines passengers say they were told to prepare for an emergency water landing in a chaotic flight to Florida

Tom Carter   

Spirit Airlines passengers say they were told to prepare for an emergency water landing in a chaotic flight to Florida
  • Passengers on a flight to Florida say they were told to prepare for an emergency water landing.
  • The Spirit Airlines flight had to return to a Jamaica airport due to a suspected mechanical issue.

A Spirit Airlines flight reportedly descended into chaos after passengers were told to wear life jackets and prepare for an emergency water landing.

Flight 270 from Montego Bay, Jamaica to Florida was forced to return to the airport shortly after takeoff due to a suspected mechanical issue on Sunday, according to the airline.

Passenger Bettina Rogers told CNN the pilot had initially told passengers there was nothing to worry about when a beeping sound went off in the aircraft, before informing them the plane was returning to the airport.

She said that as the plane turned back, passengers were told to "prepare for an emergency water landing," sparking pandemonium.

"It was scary, and people were freaking out and panicking," Rogers said.

Fellow traveler Andrene Gordon told Jamaican publication The Gleaner the aborted flight felt like a "near-death experience."

"We never knew we would actually make it to the ground because all we were seeing was literal water … it was total chaos," she said.

In a statement reported by CBS News, Spirit Airlines said the flight had returned to Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay "out of an abundance of caution following a suspected mechanical issue."

The airline said safety was its top priority and apologized to passengers for any inconvenience.

The airline did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment made outside normal working hours.

Passengers on the flight were offered a new flight to Fort Lauderdale and reportedly given a $50 credit by the airline — which Gordon described as a "slap in the face" after the "traumatic" experience.

Passengers were told to put on life jackets before the plane landed safely at Jamaica's Sangster International Airport, and some recounted having difficulties accessing their buoyancy aids.

"I would say 15 min from the first announcement we were told that we had to prepare for a water landing. Everyone went frantic on the plane," Shancy Faison told CBS News.

"I tried to retrieve my life vest, and the case that the life vest was in it would not open. My husband then took his life vest off of him and placed it on me, and he still fought for it. Took about 4 of us to break open the box," she added.

It's the latest mishap to hit a major airline in recent months. Aviation giant Boeing is facing a federal investigation after an Alaska Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing when a door plug came lose and a window on one of its 737-9 Max planes blew off mid-flight.

Meanwhile, a passenger on a Singapore Airlines flight died, and several others were left in critical condition after the plane was hit by severe turbulence last week.



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