Spirit Airlines makes emergency landing at Detroit Metro Airport: ‘People had to vomit’

It was a tense few hours for passengers aboard a Spirit Airlines flight Thursday as the plane had to make an emergency landing at Detroit Metro Airport due to a mechanical problem, an airport official said.

According to a passenger who spoke to the Free Press, the plane circled over the Monroe County nuclear power plant when the pilot announced that the landing gear would not lower and told everyone to brace for an emergency landing.

“When I heard ‘brace,’ I started crying. There were people who vomited,” recalls Cindy Greaves, 66, who was traveling to Detroit from Fort Myers, Florida, to visit family in Michigan. “Honestly, I’ve never been so scared in all my life.”

No one was injured and Flight 1150 from Fort Meyers landed without incident, although it was a heartbreaking experience for Greaves, who called her children from the plane and explained what was going on.

“I think, ‘I’m going to die,'” she recalls.

Greaves said she realized something was wrong when she looked out of the plane and realized it was circling above the cyclones at the Fermi nuclear power plant. They were due to land in eight minutes, she said, but the plane kept circling the same area.

At first she thought there might not be a place on the tarmac to land, so the pilot circled until a space opened up, Greaves said.

But after circling the nuclear towers for the third time, the wing began to dip. And then the pilot came over the intercom.

“”Our landing gear won’t go down. I’ve tried everything, but it doesn’t work. So we’ll have to prepare for an emergency landing,'” Greaves recalled the pilot who said. “Everyone just went ‘Huhhhh?’

Then she remembered the pilot saying, “‘I’m going for another lap. I’m trying to burn the fuel.'”

Greaves feared the worst. Passengers start texting and calling their loved ones. She did the same. She got hold of her son.

“My son followed (the flight) and said, ‘You’re spinning in circles… and you’re a little low,’” she recalls.

As the plane circled, a flight attendant went up and down the aisles, giving instructions: “If the pilot yells ‘brace,’ cross your arms over your head, grab the seat in front of you and keep your head in your knees, Greaves recalled the flight attendant saying before repeating, “Don’t look up. Don’t look up. Don’t look up.”

With her head in her knees, the plane landed on part asphalt and part grass, Greaves said, noting she could see Fed Ex trucks and fire trucks on the ground. They were not on the asphalt.

The passengers were let off the plane at 1:45 p.m. — an hour longer than expected, but “no one complained,” Greaves said, noting that everyone was relieved to be safe.

The woman sitting next to her began handing out sweets to everyone.

“There was such a beautiful bond,” Greaves said. “The woman next to me was an absolute saint…in a crisis she was going through. She hugged me and said, ‘Take a deep breath and pray. Relax.’ †

“I told her, ‘I don’t want to die today,'” Greaves recalls.

Flight 1150 departed Fort Myers, Florida at 9:31 a.m. Thursday and was scheduled to arrive in Detroit Metro at 12:47 a.m. The plane landed at 1:53 pm

Wayne County Airport Authority spokesman Erica Donelson said the airport’s fire service was on the scene because of a possible mechanical problem with the plane. She said the plane landed without incident.

Spirit Airlines released this statement to the Free Press at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday:

“Spirit Airlines Flight 1150 from Fort Myers to Detroit landed safely and without incident at DTW following a suspected mechanical problem, and guests disembarked under normal procedures. Safety is our top priority and the aircraft will be withdrawn from service and are inspected by our maintenance department.”

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According to airsafe.com, Spirit Airlines has never had a plane crash in its 30 years of operation.

Tresa Baldas:[email protected]

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Spirit Airlines makes emergency landing at Detroit Metro Airport

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