'Total panic' as Air France plane plummets towards Atlantic Ocean

'Total panic' as Air France plane plummets towards Atlantic OceanPA

Passengers on an Air France flight travelling from Paris to Bogota have spoken of their terror after the plane plummeted towards the Atlantic Ocean and a burning smell filled the cabin.

The AF422 flight from Paris to the Colombian capital made an emergency landing on the island of Terceira in the Azores, and many people were "crying and screaming", according to the BBC.

Colombian with British nationality, Euclides and Rosa Montes, were travelling from London to Bogota via Paris, and told The Guardian that passengers were "saying their goodbyes to one another" as the plane dropped to within 2,000 feet of the sea to offload fuel.

Euclides told the paper: "We looked out of the window and the sea was directly below us. Fuel was pouring out over the wings. We thought we were going to die."

Two hours into the flight an alarm went off in the cabin crew area, and the plane diverted to the nearest landing point.

Another passenger, Eden Victoria Erlandsson, told the Swedish newspaper Expressen, that "panic took over, the cabin crew were sweating and shouting, and people were crying and praying. It was total panic."

However, Air France spokeswoman, Marina Tymen said the passenger reports of panic were a "gross exaggeration" and told The Guardian: "After the fire alarm went off the masks came down and the plane was diverted. Another plane and crew were despatched to take the passengers on to Bogotá. This was all perfectly normal standard procedure according to the rules that apply not just to Air France but to any airline, even though it was a false alarm."

Following the incident, some passengers questioned whether the flight should have taken off after its departure was delayed for 34 minutes due to technical issues, and claimed the smell of burning was already evident when the flight took off from Charles de Gaulle.

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