British Airways passengers received a scare earlier this week when an accidentally played recorded message warned their 747 jumbojet was about to crash.
Britain’s Sky News is one of numerous outlets reporting on the incident today, writing on its website that the “planeload of British Airways passengers feared for their lives … only to learn the warning message went out in error.”
The Sun tabloid of London sets the scene, writing “a British Airways pilot hit the wrong button, … [which] triggered an automated female voice that said: ‘This is an emergency announcement. We may shortly need to make an emergency landing on water.’ ”
The London-to-Hong Kong flight was over the North Sea when the announcement was made. The Telegraph of London writes the cabin crew responded by “[running] down the aisles reassuring the 275 passengers that it was a mistake.”
“People were terrified, we all thought we were going to die,” Michelle Lord, a 32-year-old-passenger on the flight, says to the Sun. “They said the pilot hit the wrong button because they were so close together.”
British Airways has apologized for causing “undue distress” as a result of the gaffe, which occurred Tuesday but was picked up by the media today.
And, despite the Sun’s report that the warning message was a result of the pilot hitting “the wrong button,” Reuters reports that “a spokesman for British Airways said an investigation was under way to discover whether it was human error or a computer glitch.”
And, this apparently isn’t the first time such a mistake has been made. MSNBC writes on its website that “Britain’s Telegraph newspaper on Friday reported that a similar incident occurred on an Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Paris in 2009. Crew played an announcement in English warning of turbulence, followed by one in French saying the crew was preparing for an emergency landing about twenty minutes into the flight, the newspaper reported.”
“This sort of thing happens very rarely,” the Aer Lingus spokesman is quoted as saying to the paper.
(Source: USA Today)