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Sudden descent for Westjet plane

Passengers aboard a WestJet flight heading for Winnipeg put on oxygen masks and held on tight when their jet experienced a pressurization problem.

WestJet spokesman Robert Palmer says the Boeing 737-700 was on its way from Phoenix to Winnipeg on Friday night when the trouble developed. The pilots declared an emergency and made a rapid descent which took the plane from 12,000 metres to below 3,000 metres in just a few minutes.

Palmer says the plane landed safely in Rapid City, South Dakota. Passengers were put up in a hotel in Rapid City for the night and were due back in Winnipeg Saturday evening.

There's no word yet on what caused the pressurization problem but Palmer says the airline is investigating. 

"This is a descent that is faster than normal, than say, when you're landing." Palmer said. "It took a few minutes. It's not like in the movies where the aircraft does a nose dive." He says both the National Transportation Safety Board in the U.S. and the Transportation Safety Board in Canada are satisfied with WestJet's response and won't be investigating.



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