Frightened passengers demand to disembark the plane on the tarmac

Frightened, passengers demand to disembark the plane on the tarmac at Reunion airport

The 300 or so passengers on a flight bound for Mauritius from La Réunion; Thursday, will remember their trip for a long time. A series of incidents caused a 12-hour delay and panic on board while the plane was still on the ground at Roland-Garros airport in Saint-Denis (Réunion). It all started with an announcement at registration, says Réunion La 1re.

Another airline’s plane

Passengers have indeed learned that Air Mauritius’ flight, scheduled for 12:30pm, would depart an hour late due to a technical problem. After being seated on a first plane, travelers had to disembark before boarding another device. It was actually a Qatar Airways plane chartered by the Mauritian airline for the occasion.

For two and a half hours, the pilots conducted various technical tests while customers were already in their seats, a witness said. The tests resulted in the cabin lights being cycled on and off multiple times, startling the plane’s occupants. Then there was the smell of gasoline and fire.

tears and fainting

Children then began to cry and a woman lost consciousness, a passenger said. About thirty people eventually rebelled and refused to remain seated, demanding not to board that plane and to be able to disembark. Her request was flatly denied by the non-French-speaking cabin crew, one traveler said.

Passengers spoke of the “fear” and compared their experience to “a horror film” or even to the feature film “Les Ailes de l’Enfer”. The plane finally took off around 11 p.m. after a switch failure could be repaired. Several passengers missed their connection in Mauritius.