A Boeing 717 was forced to divert flying above Italy. The aircraft’s pilots opted to divert to Genoa after the aircraft suffered from a depressurization south of the city.
While the Boeing 717 isn’t in wide circulation around Europe, however, Volotea is still operating the type around Europe. Unfortunately today one of the aircraft had to make an unscheduled stop after the cabin depressurized. The 19-year-old aircraft landed without any further incidents. As a result, the passengers ended up having to continue the journey to their destination via ground transportation.
The flight affected by the incident was a Volotea flight from Naples to Turin. The aircraft was operating flight V7 1724. The flight operates six out of seven days of the week. Flight V7 1724 is scheduled to depart from Naples at 17:00. After the flight to Turin, the domestic flight is due to land at 18:35.
Yesterday, the flight didn’t get off to the best start. Although it was due to depart at 17:00, the aircraft didn’t get into the air until 18 minutes late at 17:18. The aircraft was heading north toward Turin when it suffered from a depressurization. According to the Aviation Herald, the aircraft was around 80 nautical miles south of Genoa when the incident occurred.
The Boeing 717 was cruising at around 34,000 feet. It was over the sea to the West of Italy at the time of the occurrence. It then made a fairly swift descent to 10,000 feet. Data from FlightRadar24 then shows the aircraft circling off of the coast of Italy before coverage was lost. However, the AvHerald reports that the aircraft went on to land at Genoa. It was additionally reported that the passengers continued their journey by bus.
What happens when an aircraft depressurizes?
An aircraft is pressurized during normal operations. This means that the pressure inside the aircraft is kept above that outside the aircraft. In turn, passengers are able to breathe normally. When an aircraft depressurizes, the additional pressure inside the fuselage is lost. As a result, the cabin pressure equalizes with what is outside.
The drop in pressure means that there are fewer oxygen molecules in the air to breathe. Without supplemental oxygen, hypoxia would set it. To combat this, aircraft are fitted with the overhead masks you see in the safety demonstration. These drop down and provide sufficient oxygen until the aircraft descends enough for passengers to breathe normally. The pilots have their own oxygen supply. Thankfully, depressurization incidents are rarely rare given the number of flights per day.
Were you on the Volotea flight? What do you make of the incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!