diversion

by Sirje


Holy crap! We were just flying over the Alps (or some other giant pointy mountains with snow) when a flight attendant asked over the loudspeakers for any doctors on board to please press the attendant button. Yikes!

A poor passenger in the back, with a history of epilepsy, was unfortunately having a seizure which quickly became a serious emergency. Luckily, a doctor happened to be sitting behind me. She seemed to know exactly what to do. Excellent trait in a doctor in emergency situations while flying over mountains, by the way.

The doctor was busy in the back, and I watched with astonishment as flight attendants walked very calmly but very very very quickly and determinedly back and forth (excellent traits in flight attendants in emergency situations while flying over pointy mountains) and opened all manner of hidden panels and hatches and magic locations, pulling out all kinds of medical equipment. Hooray Air Berlin for being fully stocked and telling your employees what to do!

All at once, about an hour into our trip, it became clear that the pilot had decided to divert to the nearest airport and received permission to do so, because holy moly did we turn around quick. Wow. That plane can move! And then we made this giant super fast corkscrew down to Munich which I will admit sort of kept everyone pretty quiet.

And suddenly we were landing! Really really fast! And then our pilot, The Red Baron, hit the breaks and we did not roll over on ourselves. Somehow. We pulled out immediately to the first possible exit off the runway and were greeted by firetrucks, police, ambulances, plane mechanics, and an odd plethora of ladders.

The patient was evacuated to the ambulance immediately (50 points off for the ridiculous woman who actually stood up to rummage in her baggage overhead while this was taking place, oy.) and removed his or her bags. Then we were told to remove our seat belts and stay seated as they refueled. The flight attendants were oddly tense during the refueling, markedly more so than during the whole medical emergency thing.

Btw, reason for firetrucks? In case of explosion during refueling. Reason for seat belts being undone? So we can get up really fast to avoid the fireball. Gah!!

A mere hour after we’d landed, we were up in the air again, which is incredible! We were lucky to be put at the front of the line for takeoff, and all told were only one hour late in Rome. Diverting is probably an expensive undertaking, so I guess they did their best to keep the time down.

I am sorry for the poor person who was sick on the flight; I never saw them but it must be so frightening to go through that, and I hope it was easier with all the people doing their best to take great care. I hope he or she is ok and received excellent care after leaving the plane. The heartening thing is to know how absolutely professional the crew was in handling the emergency. Totally in control, totally responsive, and calm. Even Captain Speedy there in the cockpit. Thank you, Air Berlin!

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