A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER has suffered a loss of cabin pressure while climbing out of Singapore Changi Airport.
The 777 reached FL240 (24,000ft) when the crew stopped the climb due to an indicated problem with the cabin pressure. The flight had 234 passengers and 17 crew members on board and planned to fly SQ-336 to Paris Charles de Gaulle (France). The aircraft was registered as 9V-SWL which is 11 years old.
The crew entered an emergency descent down to 6000ft. Passenger oxygen masks were released from overhead panels. The aircraft had to dump fuel so it was able to land back at Singapore around 100 minutes after its original departure.
A Singapore Airlines Spokesperson said
The plane had to circle in the air for about an hour to dump fuel before it could land
Oxygen masks were deployed as a precaution during the flight’s descent
A loss of cabin pressure can be fatal as we cannot receive enough oxygen to survive at high altitudes. Airbus issued a “cabin decompression awareness” note that said that at 40,000 ft, people have as little as 18 seconds of “useful consciousness” if they are starved of oxygen. It stressed the risks of hypoxia – oxygen starvation – are all the greater as people may not realise they are suffering until they can no longer breathe and fall unconscious. This is why the crew will put the aircraft into an emergency descent to descend to an altitude of less than 10,000ft, at this altitude, there is enough oxygen for us to breath comfortably.