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Spirit Airlines Passenger Reported That the Cabin Was Bracing for a Water Landing After the Flight Experienced an Apparent Mechanical Problem

The cabin of a Spirit Airlines flight from Jamaica to Florida became a scene of panic and confusion Sunday when passengers were told to prepare for a possible water landing after the aircraft was turned around due to an apparent mechanical problem, a passenger told CNN.

According to a statement from the airline, the flight, an Airbus, was en route to Fort Lauderdale when it veered off course and safely made its way back to Jamaica’s Montego Bay. The cause of the diversion was a “suspected mechanical issue,” the airline said. Passengers were de-boarded and placed on another plane to make their way back to Fort Lauderdale.

The incident came on the heels of a record-setting holiday weekend for air travel. On Friday alone, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) set a record for the highest number of travelers screened in one day, according to a posting on the agency’s website.

Bettina Rogers, a passenger on the flight, recorded a video of the plane taking off, during which she says she heard a chiming sound in the cabin twice, but didn’t know what it meant.

Just after the signal came out, the pilot reassured the passengers that there was nothing to worry about, Rogers said.

About five minutes into the flight, the pilot told the passengers that the plane would have to make a turn back to the airport in Montego Bay, Rogers reported. As the plane was turning back, the pilot said, “We are going to make an emergency water landing,” she reported.

Rogers said that it was “terrifying” and that people were “freaking out” and “scared.”

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As passengers exited the plane after the safe landing, the air was filled with nervous chatter and the orange vests were strewn across the floor and chairs, as captured on video by Rogers.

According to Spirit’s statement, passengers were cleared to exit the aircraft “in accordance with standard operating procedures” and a replacement flight was dispatched to pick them up in Fort Lauderdale. Rogers made it to Atlanta on time.

We prioritize safety above all else, and our maintenance team will assess the aircraft for further action. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused our Guests.

A United Airlines flight Monday morning was forced to take off from Chicago O’Hare International after an engine fire was reported by flight attendants, according to a statement from the airline.

A Southwest Airlines flight Monday afternoon was forced to divert to Colorado Springs from Denver, Colorado, after flight attendants reported a “potential smell of smoke” in the cabin. The flight originated from Denver and was bound for Tampa, Florida.

Southwest Flight 1070 was safely diverted and the airline issued a statement apologizing for the disruption. The flight crew followed protocol and landed the aircraft, safely deplaning customers and crew.

Since the start of the year, there have been a number of serious incidents on planes, including a plug door blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight that resulted in the death of one person and the injury of 71 others.

There have also been a number of minor incidents on planes, mostly Boeings, that have also caught the attention of air safety regulators and travelers.

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In March, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched an investigation into United Airlines after a series of incidents on its fleet of Boeings, including a missing exterior panel, flames coming out of an engine after takeoff, and a wheel coming off. While these incidents have raised concerns, aviation experts have noted that commercial aviation remains one of the safest modes of transportation in the United States.

The most recent major fatal commercial plane crash in the United States occurred in 2009, and there were five fatal commercial flight accidents between 2010 and 2022.

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