A Southwest Airlines flight attempting to land in New Orleans airport Saturday in the middle of a storm caused passengers onboard to start panicking.
The plane was flying from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to its destination. Upon reaching New Orleans, the pilot attempted to land the plane amid limited visibility and stormy conditions. After failing to do so, the flight was diverted to Panama City, Florida, where it was to refuel and wait out the storm.
The experience of trying to land in a storm was so scary that passengers started crying, screaming and even vomiting on the plane. Some of them were convinced that it was going to be the last day of their lives — so much that they started sending goodbye texts to their loved ones.
“We came through the clouds and the plane was just tilting back and forth. It was going all over the place,” passenger Lauren Bale, who works for CBS-affiliated WWL-TV, told her station.
Bale did not stop there. She continued to describe her “most terrifying experience” on her Twitter page.
Finally as the flight landed in Panama City after being diverted, Bale’s relief was apparent in her Twitter post: “We’re now in Panama City waiting out the storm. This was all 100% preventable but @SouthwestAir took a huge risk and I honestly feel lucky to be alive. #lawx #southwest.”
There were other passengers who shared Bale’s feelings.
“It felt like I was about to lift off. I felt like I was done. I felt like I was about to see baby Jesus and Papa God,” another passenger, Marie Wary, said of the scary failed landing.
Another passenger, Sharon Bikoundou, said he did not understand why the pilot tried to land the plane under such severe conditions as “You couldn’t see anything. No visibility.” Describing the pilot’s actions, he added: “Right as he was about to land he pulled back up.”
A spokesperson for the Southwest Airlines issued the following statement, according to Fox News: “Our top focus is Safety. Flight 3461 from Fort Lauderdale to New Orleans arrived about four hours behind schedule after persistent thunderstorms over New Orleans forced prolonged holding near New Orleans awaiting clearance from air traffic controllers followed by a refueling stop in Panama City before the completion of the journey. The Safety of our Customers and Employees as well as the safe operation of every flight is our highest priority.”
Although the passengers who had to undertake the journey under harrowing weather conditions were offered compensation for the ordeal, Bale said it was not enough.
“The forecast was for severe weather. The failed landing, voucher for cost of ticket & apology from SW prove they should have never attempted to land when they did. Thankful the pilots were able to get us out of that situation, but we shouldn’t have been put in it to begin with,” she wrote on social media.