Terrifying moment Ryanair flight from Romania to Stansted fills with smoke and passengers desperately cover their mouths as plane is forced to make an emergency landing

  • Flight was travelling from the Romanian capital, Bucharest, to London Stansted
  • Ryanair flight had to make emergency landing after cabin filled with thick smoke
  • Smoke filled the plane as it climbed to 5,000ft and passengers started to panic 
  • Plane returned to Otopeni airport where the 169 passengers were disembarked

A Ryanair flight to Stansted airport had to make an emergency landing after the cabin suddenly filled with thick smoke.

There were 169 passengers and four crew members on board the flight travelling from the Romanian capital, Bucharest, when smoke flooded the plane shortly after takeoff.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, then declared an emergency and returned to Otopeni airport where the passengers were disembarked, scared but otherwise unharmed.

The incident took place on Tuesday morning on the flight that was originally scheduled for 6.40am to London Stansted Airport when passengers had already been made to wait because there was a problem with a first plane and replacement needed to be found. A second plane was then prepared.


The moment (left and right) the cabin of a Ryanair flight filled with smoke not long after take off from Otopeni airport in Romania as it headed to London Stansted airport on Tuesday

The flight then set off at 10.57am local time with the replacement aircraft but just minutes into the flight, the captain declared Mayday and signalled an emergency in order to return.

The smoke started to fill the cabin when the plane had climbed to 5,000ft, and passengers started to panic.

After landing many turned to social media to share their experiences such as Cosmin Malureanu who wrote: ‘It was a traumatic experience, as soon as I took off everything was filled with smoke. We could not even see two rows in front of us.’

They also complained that the crew did little to calm things down.

Cosmin said: ‘It was very bad, the crew was quiet. We didn’t even see the oxygen masks that should fall in such a condition. It was nothing and I was in real panic.’

According to witnesses, the smoke started to fill the cabin when the plane had climbed to 5,000 feet and an emergency was declared 

Passengers filmed the cabin as it filled with smoke. The plane returned to Otopeni airport where the passengers disembarked, scared but otherwise unharmed

In order to stop inhaling the smoke many passengers stuffed scarves or clothing over their mouths to try and get clean air.

The airline arranged the third plane to drive the passengers to the flight to London around 3pm, but 29 people were reportedly so traumatised they refused to travel with the airline. 

Bucharest has been hit with freezing temperatures, with the mercury hitting below zero, although it is not known if this played a role in the aircraft’s difficulties.

However, it was revealed the plane had to be de-iced before it was allowed to take off.

An investigation is ongoing. It is currently unclear why the plane filled with smoke.

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