New Delhi: In a case of gross negligence, a Jet Airways flight with 166 passengers from Mumbai to Jaipur had to turn back shortly after take-off on Thursday morning.

Several passengers suffered nasal and ear bleeding due to cabin pressure problem, a senior official said.

The crew on flight 9W 697 reportedly forgot to select a switch that helps maintain cabin air pressure during take-off; as a result, over 30 passengers suffered from ear and nose bleeding.

Darshak Hathi, the international director of Art of Living Foundation, was one of the passengers on that flight. He caught the moment of panic and absolute confusion prevailing inside the flight.

The Boeing 737 aircraft returned to Mumbai due to "loss of cabin pressure" and the pilots have been taken off duty pending investigation, a Jet Airways spokesperson said.

"During the climb, the crew forgot to select bleed switch due to which cabin pressurisation could not be maintained. As a result, oxygen masks got deployed," the official at aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said,

Citing initial information, the official said a few passengers have nose bleeding.

"Out of 166 passengers on board, 30 passengers are affected... some have nose bleeding, few have ear bleeding and some are complaining of a headache," he added.

Passengers react

According to the airline, the aircraft landed normally in Mumbai. "All guests were deplaned safely and taken to the terminal. First aid was administered to a few guests who complained of ear pain, bleeding nose etc," it said.

An official at Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) said that going by the preliminary information, it could be a case of negligence on the part of the pilots since controlling cabin pressure control is part of a check before operating a flight.

The official said the DGCA would look into the incident first and then a decision would be taken on whether the matter should be referred to the AAIB.

One of the Jet Airways flyers has been admitted to a hospital here for a check-up, an official said. 

A middle-aged man was brought to Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital in suburban Vile Parle by Jet Airways officials.

"He has been admitted for audiometry test and the hospital will issue a health statement after some time," a spokesperson of the hospital said.

Jet Airways mayhem

In an ominous turn of events, Dr Rajendra Patenkar, the COO of Nanavati Hospital said that passengers who suffered nose and ear bleeding will have "mild conductive deafness for some period of time". He added that the passengers have been advised not to fly again for some time. 

Bewildered by the turn of events, Jet Airways has issued a statement. "Following the air-turn back of Jet Airways’ flight 9W 697 of September 20, 144 of the 166 guests of the original flight travelled to Jaipur via an alternative flight of the airline, while 17 of them wished to travel at another point in time. Five guests who were referred to a hospital for additional medical check-up accompanied by the Jet Airways’ Care team have since been released, post medical examination. The airline will continue to offer necessary medical care and attention to the concerned guests as required. Jet Airways is also extending full cooperation to the DGCA for the ongoing investigation of the event. Jet Airways regrets the inconvenience caused to its guests," the airlines' wrote in a statement addressed to the media.