The China Post news staff
TAIPEI, Taiwan — An EVA Airways Bangkok-to-Vienna flight was forced yesterday to make an emergency landing in southern Ukraine after a reported drop in cabin pressure. While the impromptu landing of flight BR-61 in Simferopol, capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, en route to Austria frightened the 78 people aboard, no one was hurt, local media reported. EVA Airways representatives yesterday spoke out regarding the emergency landing, stating that investigations revealed cabin pressure was not lost, but merely “abnormal.” According to Austrian Aviation Net reports, the EVA Airways flight was supposed to arrive in Vienna at 9:30 a.m. yesterday. It was forced to land at Simferopol International Airport. The Osterreich daily newspaper reported that computer analysis showed the landing was a result of lost cabin pressure. All 66 passengers and 12 flight staff aboard the plane were unharmed when the aircraft landed safely in Simferopol. Among those stranded in the Crimean airport was one Taiwanese, 21 Austrians, 19 Swedes, one New Zealander, two Americans, three Spaniards, one Hungarian and seven Thais. At the time of the Osterreich reports, an investigative team from Eva Airways was already dispatched to examine the plane, to see whether there had been a problem with technical skill or faulty aircraft. At press time, the passengers were being transferred to other airlines to reach their original destinations. EVA Airways representatives said the A330-200 passenger aircraft left Taiwan at 11:40 p.m. on Dec. 28 for Bangkok. It left Bangkok at 4:42 a.m. Taiwan time on Dec. 29 and was slated to arrive in Vienna at 4:30 p.m. Taiwan time.
However, a conspicuous drop in cabin pressure forced the plane to land in Simferopol at 2:06 p.m. EVA Airways said the pilot discovered the abnormal pressure and for safety, made the decision for the emergency landing two hours before its estimated arrival time in Austria. The pilot deployed the cabin oxygen masks to help ease passengers’ discomfort caused by the drop in cabin pressure when the plane suddenly descended from 40,000 feet to 11,000 feet. An infant was among the passengers aboard. An EVA Airways aircraft expert confirmed during the drop in cabin pressure, the air-conditioning aboard the plane had ceased to work, which would automatically require the pilot to take the aircraft to lower altitudes. Passengers are required, under those circumstances, to use oxygen masks.