Passengers crying and praying after oxygen masks released during flight

Passengers on a civilian aircraft were left praying and crying after the cabin lost pressure during the first phases of the flight, it has been claimed.

Some of the dramatic scenes captured aboard a plane believed to be the Airbus A319-111 show people looking distressed as oxygen masks released in the cabin.

The major scare happened not long after the plane had taken off from Russia’s Mineralnye Vody Airport, at 5.30pm local time on December 8.

While the passenger flight was directed to St Petersburg, the pilot had to U-turn and perform an emergency landing back to Mineralnye Vody only a few minutes after departure, according to Russian online news outlet Mash.

The news publication wrote on the messaging platform Telegram: “The preliminary reason for this is that the pilot’s cabin became depressurised during the flight.”

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Mash added the distressing footage shows “passengers were stressed, they were saying prayers, some were crying”.

Another publication, Fontanka, reported a passenger saying the experience was “very scary”.

However, they added, the flight attendants were “fearless” as they continued to provide help to the passengers with a smile.

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Providing further context to the incident, the Aviation Safety Network website gathered unverified reports claiming there were 111 people aboard the plane, and no casualties resulted from the alleged depressurisation of the cabin.

Flightradar24, which tracks flights around the world, shows the flight path of the A319-111, confirming its U-turn.

Mineralnye Vody Airport is located in Stavropol Krai, south-west Russia, and features a civilian terminal area with 41 parking spots.

On its east side, the airport also houses a maintenance facility for Tupolev Tu-154 jet airliners.

The Russian aviation industry has been badly hit by Western sanctions issued in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine ordered by the Kremlin in February 2022.

Among other measures, the sanctions led aircraft manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing to stop delivering spare parts and new planes to Russia.

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