Southwest passenger says 6-minute, 20,000-foot drop in altitude was 'horrible'

- Southwest Airlines flight 1694 from Tampa to Nashville should've taken about two hours but passengers started noticing the distinct smell of smoke in the cabin mid-flight. 

”When they say that we have mechanical failure, and we have something burning, and the lights going off…that made it really scary,” 99.5 WQYK's Cadillac Jack told FOX 13 News via Skype.

Jack was among the 129 people onboard who would be rerouted to Atlanta. Shortly after he wrote on Facebook, "It was horrible. My heart is beating 240."

A graphic from FlightRadar24 shows an abrupt change of course in the flight path. And then there's the altitude. It shows the plane descending 20,000 feet in just six minutes.

”When we started coming down...we came down so fast there was a lot of concern,” he said.

Southwest says there was a "performance issue" with one of the engines leading the pilot to change course. The plane landed safely and passengers were put on another plane to continue to Nashville.

”This was the most joyous part when we landed. The place went crazy that we made it to the ground,” he said.
“It was a great bunch of people on the plane. I do give kudos to the pilot."

Now comfortably in Nashville, Cadillac Jack says there is one bright spot to the bad trip.

”At least there were no fights on the plane that’s for sure,” he said.

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