A Ryanair flight operating from Santiago to Valencia was forced to turn around yesterday after one of its passengers suffered a panic attack in mid-air.
Flight FR7223 got off to a shaky start after leaving the Galician airport at 11.40pm, almost two hours behind schedule. Once in the air, the situation was further complicated when the young passenger, aged between 13 and 15, underwent a panic attack about an hour into the journey.
The girl was travelling as part of a group of youngsters accompanied by various supervisors, one of whom, together with a doctor travelling with the group, laid her down at the back of the plane in an effort to calm her nerves.
At this point, the Ryanair cabin crew decided to turn the plane around and return to Santiago. Tempers flared among the other travellers, due in main to a lack of communication between the passengers and crew. It is reported that announcements were only given in English.
Speaking to La Voz de Galicia,journalist Cristina Rodriguez said: “None of the crew could speak Spanish, so a passenger had to take up the microphone and translate what the crew was saying.
“They only told us that an incident had taken place and that we had to return to Santiago.
“However, the doctor travelling with the group insisted that the girl was fine to continue the journey.”
Once the flight had landed back at Santiago airport, a doctor immediately boarded the aircraft and confirmed that the girl was fine. The flight crew, however, insisted that she leave the plane, and she was escorted off by a member of the Guardia Civil.
The flight left Santiago for the second time at 2am. Rodriguez went on to say: “We arrived in Valencia at around 3.30am. We were angry but not because of what happened with the girl. It was because of the lack of respect Ryanair showed us, the lack of communication and how they managed the incident.
“We were waiting a long time in the plane and weren’t even offered water: they wanted to sell it to us. What’s more, there was no danger, no need to turn back. The crew were definitely not up to scratch.”