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Florida-bound American Airlines plane drops 15,000 feet in 3 minutes: ‘It was terrifying’

An American Airlines plane headed to Florida dropped over 15,000 feet in a matter of three minutes, flight records indicate.

American Airlines Flight 5916 on Thursday took off from Charlotte, North Carolina, and was headed to Gainesville, Florida when crew members on the plane reported a possible pressurization issue, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration told FOX 35.

The plane went on to land at Gainesville Regional Airport just before 5 p.m.

One passenger, University of Florida Professor Harrison Hove, wrote on social media that the incident was “terrifying.”

“I’ve flown a lot. This was scary,” Hove said. “Kudos to our amazing flight crew-cabin staff and pilots on American Air 5916.

The photos cannot capture the burning smell, loud bang or ear pops.”

FlightAware data shows that the flight dropped almost 20,000 feet within an 11-minute span. 

University of Florida Professor Harrison Hove snapped photos of the frightening flight after the plane leveled out.
X/Harrison Hove
Oxygen masks were dropped from the overhead due to the rapid loss in altitude.
X/Harrison Hove

43 minutes into the flight, the plane dropped 18,600 feet within a matter of six minutes.

“Something failed midflight and depressurized the cabin,” Hove wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The burning smell can apparently be attributed to using the oxygen canisters. The wing flaps came out to immediately lower our altitude so there would be more oxygen. It was terrifying but turned out ok.”

In a statement, an American Airlines spokesperson told FOX Business that the sudden drop in altitude was due to a pressurization issue.

“American Eagle flight 5916, operated by Piedmont Airlines, from Charlotte (CLT) to Gainesville, Florida (GNV) landed safely in GNV on Thursday, August 10. While in flight, the crew received an indication of a possible pressurization issue and immediately and safely descended to a lower altitude. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience and thank our team for their professionalism,” the spokesperson said.

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