A Ryanair flight from Dublin to the Croatian city of Zadar was forced to make an emergency landing at Frankfurt-Hahn airport in western Germany due to cabin pressure problems on Friday, German police said.
Flight FR7312 landed at Frankfurt-Hahn airport at the small municipality of Hahn at around 11:30 p.m. Friday evening, a spokesman for the Federal Police told DW.
"There was a technical problem and the air pressure went down, so the pilot had to take the aircraft down in Hahn," the spokesman said, adding that the exact cause of the emergency landing was unclear.
One passenger, who was aboard the plane, posted a photograph of the plane's oxygen masks hanging from the ceiling.
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Some 33 passengers on board the flight were taken to local hospitals with complaints of earaches, headaches and nausea.
A replacement plane took off on Saturday morning to take passengers to final destination of Zadar on Saturday morning just before 11 a.m. local time (0900 GMT). A number of passengers were understood not to have taken the flight, with some still complaining that they were unwell or had companions who were still ill.
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One Twitter user on the plane told DW the passengers had not been provided with a place to sleep, did not have Wi-Fi internet access and had been given a €10 ($11.70) food voucher about four hours after the plane landed.
After the replacement plane had taken off, Spanish citizen Minerva Galvan — who was among those who stayed behind — tweeted that passengers who were unable to fly had been abandoned at the airport.
Galvan described the experience of being on the plane as the cabin decompressed: "The worst moments of my whole life. You are in the air and one moment after you are just falling in the sky, your ears burn, there is no air and your mouth taste like iron."
Ryanair confirmed to DW that flight had been diverted "due to an inflight depressurisation. According to a statement from Robin Kiely, "In line with standard procedure, the crew deployed oxygen masks and initiated a controlled descent. The aircraft landed normally and customers disembarked, where a small number received medical attention as a precaution."
While Ryanair said it had agreed to pay for hotels for the affected passengers, it admitted there was a "shortage of available accommodation" in the area.
Frankfurt-Hahn lies in remote countryside — being 120 kilometers from Frankfurt and lying halfway between that city and Luxembourg. The airport changed its name at the request of Ryanair, which was sued by German national carrier Lufthansa for false advertising because of its use of the name. Ryanair was allowed to keep the name on condition that it stipulated the distance from Frankfurt.