27 Aug 2008

Passengers in hospital after sudden descent

2:00 pm on 27 August 2008

Twenty-six people have been taken to hospital after an aircraft en route from Britain to Spain made an unscheduled landing in France as a result of losing cabin pressure.

Police say the Ryanair Boeing 737 was flying to Barcelona-Girona airport from Bristol when a severe depressurisation forced it to descend 8000 metres in five minutes.

Terrified passengers told how they had feared for their lives as the aircraft plummeted and oxygen masks dropped down.

Ryanair says its plane, carrying 168 passengers and seven crew, landed at Limoges International Airport as a "safety precaution".

Emergency workers say 26 passengers were taken to hospital with damaged eardrums.