Passengers injured after pilots forget to pressurize cabin on Jet Airways India flight

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Passengers stand on the tarmac after an emergency landing, due to lost cabin pressure, on a Jet Airways flight, in Mumbai, India September 20, 2018 in this still image obtained from social media video. Melissa Tixiera via REUTERS

Pilots operating a Jet Airways India flight on Thursday forgot to turn on a switch that maintains optimal pressure in the cabin during ascent, causing injuries to some aboard.

About 30 of the 166 passengers aboard the Boeing Co. 737 aircraft from Mumbai to Jaipur suffered bleeding in their noses, and a few in their ears, forcing the plane to return, according to a statement from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in New Delhi. The carrier said it has taken the cockpit crew off duty pending an investigation into the incident.

“Jet Airways regrets the inconvenience caused to its guests,” it said in a Twitter post.

The crew of flight 9W 697 failed to flip the “bleed switch,” which meant cabin pressure couldn’t be maintained, causing oxygen masks to drop when the aircraft was gaining altitude, the nation’s aviation regulator said. India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a Twitter post that the affected passengers have been treated for the bleeding, and asked the DGCA to file its report immediately.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered a comprehensive safety audit of the country’s airlines, airports, training schools and maintenance, repair and overhaul companies immediately, followed by corrective measures to fix any shortcomings. The nation’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau is probing the incident.

Mumbai-based Jet Airways, which reported its biggest quarterly loss since 2015, is seeking to raise funds and pare debt as part of a turnaround plan it announced in August. The carrier is among those struggling to make money in the Indian market, where competition has driven fares below cost. It has said salary payments to pilots will be staggered over two installments each month for three months.

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