On its journey from Malaga to Barcelona, Spanish budget airline Vuelling flight VY2188 was propelled into danger when its cabin became rapidly thick with smoke.Frightened passengers were then forced to make a sudden emergency evacuation, with passengers battling to hold down one of the exit slides in strong winds.Furious flyers onboard the flight have since vented about the lack of safety measures and information provided. Passengers attempted to protect themselves against the air pollution, as no safety masks were released.
Footage posted to Youtube by someone onboard shows the horrifying moment the the Vueling Airbus A320-200N became submerged in smoke.
Passengers can be heard reassuring one another to “be calm” while in their seats.
After a priority landing at El Prat airport patrons, including young children, were filmed fleeing to safety down the blow up slides.
It was just after midnight on Friday when the passengers finally found safety on the tarmac.
Despite the safe evacuation, passengers have criticised the way Vuelling staff handled the incident.
With not enough wet paper towels to go around while the crew attempted to activate the emergency ramps, customers were told “cover your nostrils with your hands and lower your head to your legs.”
Spokesperson Javier Calderón told Spanish newspaper El Pais: “Several people suffered panic attacks, especially when the plane had landed, emergency ramps were not activated and there was a high concentration of smoke in the cabin which made it difficult to breathe.”
Luckily, two Ryanair staff who happened to be travelling onboard have been praised for stepping up and assisting during the crisis.
Calderón stated passengers weren’t told what was happening and described the additional panic as strong winds made the front chute almost unusable.
At one point, a child can be heard crying as escapees head for fresh air.
The video shows travellers helping one another, while ground staff were enlisted to restrain the slide against the turbulent weather.
Vueling released a statement, saying: “Vueling is investigating the incident with the competent authorities to determine the causes.
“All customers were evacuated safely”
The incident comes in the midst of a treacherous week for holidaymakers headed for Spain.
Fight closures and extensive delays, as well as several fatalities, have been reported after the country experienced some of its worst September weather in a decade.
Spain’s meteorological agency (AEMET) issued an “extreme risk” weather warning, as intense rain, flooding and a tornado swept the nation.
Airports including Ibiza, Algeria and Murcia were affected.
Meanwhile tourists were warned take caution when travelling to the region, with Murcia, Algeria, Valencia and Alicante the worst affected.
The UK Foreign Office updated their website, warning: “Spain’s meteorological office (AEMET) has issued an ‘extreme risk’ weather warning for the regions of Valencia, Alicante, Murcia, Almeria and Balearic Islands due to torrential rain.
“If you are in these areas you should exercise extreme caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.”
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.