Those oxygen masks you never want to see drop down on a flight came down on one in India Thursday morning, and irate fliers say they weren't told why, or what to do by negligent flight crew—and that for about 45 minutes, the 160 or so passengers went through quite a frightening experience, per the Guardian. That experience for about 30 of them on the Jet Airways flight between Mumbai and Jaipur resulted in headaches, ear pain, nosebleeds, and panic after pilots "forgot" to flick a switch that pressurized the plane's cabin, the BBC reports. Some of the passengers documented their "terrifying" experience online, with one noting passenger safety was "completely ignored," per the Times. "I thought this is it," Joel D'Souza tells the Mumbai Mirror, noting crew didn't tell anyone what was happening, other than that they were returning to Mumbai, and that one woman began demanding information.
At least five people required hospitalization upon landing for "barotrauma" (injury from differences in pressure) of the nose and ear, with one doctor telling the Times of India "most of them will have mild conductive deafness for some period of time" and shouldn't fly for a week or so. The Guardian explains continued low pressure can put a strain on tissues in the nose and ears, which can lead to ruptures and bleeding. In a statement, Jet Airways concedes the plane had to return to Mumbai "due to loss in cabin pressure" and that it "regretted" the incident, per the BBC. India's Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked for a report ASAP from its investigatory arm, Al Jazeera reports. "This was a petrifying episode and frankly, air travel worries me a little now," D'Souza tells the Mirror. Quartz notes Jet Airways has been contending with other recent troubles as well, including debt and tax woes. (Read more emergency landing stories.)