Passengers flying in a British Airways' aeroplane from Miami to London thought they were going to die last Friday, when a recorded voice announced: "This is an emergency, we will shortly be making an emergency landing on water."
The flight was proceeding normally, but all the passengers believed something was wrong and they were going to crash. Talking to the Daily Telegraph in the UK, one of the passenger described the pandemonium that ensued:
We looked at each other and figured we were both about to die. Families with children were distraught and people were in tears. It was very distressing. About 30 seconds later, one of the cabin crew told us to ignore the announcement. ... Imagining yourself plunging towards a cold, watery grave in the middle of the Atlantic is a pretty horrific thought, but they seemed very blasé about it.
British Airways won't disclose the nature of the error, but this is the second time this has happened. On August 2010 a BA pilot hit the wrong button, which triggered the same message and the same response in all the passengers en route to Hong Kong from London.
The airline has apologised to customers via a press release. Maybe they should need to put some tape over the bloody crash alert button in each of their aeroplanes. [Daily Telegraph via CNN, The Sun via Twitter -- Thanks Scott Kidder!]