A Ryanair 737-800 dropped 35,000 feet in seven minutes and made an emergency landing in France after a fire broke out onboard and smoke filled the cabin.
Ryanair 737-800 Rapidly Descends 35,000 Feet After Smoke Fills Cabin
The incident occurred onboard Ryanair flight FR4052 from Manchester (MAN) to Faro, Portugal (FAO) on Monday night, January 3, 2022. When smoke filled the cabin over the English Channel, pilots began a rapid descent, bringing the aircraft from an altitude of 41,000 fleet to 6,725 feet over a period of seven minutes.
The aircraft made an emergency landing in Brest Bretagne Airport in France (BES). Passengers were invited to wait in the terminal and were provided food and drink while waiting for a replacement aircraft, which was dispatched from England and ultimately transported passengers to Portugal four hours late.
One passenger, Patricia Smith, described what took place onboard:
“The crew were first class. The pilots remained totally calm issuing very clear instructions on procedures and the brace position.
“All of the passengers stayed calm although I did recite the Lord’s Prayer as we started to plummet to land.
“Nobody moved. We all sat practising the brace position. It sounds odd, but you could have heard a pin drop.
“It was a very frightening experience but passengers afterwards remained calm and joked with each other.
“There was the British spirit once we had made the fast decent. People joked ‘get that bar open’ and that it had been ‘better than the black hole ride at Alton Towers’.
“Thankfully there was no young children who would have been terrified as I was. The Ryanair crew were a credit to the Aviation industry.”
A Ryanair spokesperson confirmed:
“This flight from Manchester to Faro, Jan 3, diverted to Brest Airport as a precaution due to a minor technical issue which caused an unidentified smoke smell in the cabin.
“Passengers disembarked the aircraft as normal and were taken to a secure area in Brest airport where they were provided with refreshments.”
Passengers may never have been in danger, yet Smith’s narrative is gripping. By all accounts, it appears the Ryanair flight crew handled the situation masterfully. Still, such a rapid descent and being asked to assume the brace position is always jarring.