United Express plane makes emergency landing after 3 passengers lose consciousness

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WLS) -- A United Express plane from Chicago to Connecticut made an emergency landing in Buffalo, New York, after three passengers lost consciousness.

The plane was headed from O'Hare International Airport to Bradley International Airport in Connecticut when it made an emergency stop at Buffalo Niagara International Airport at 11:40 a.m. Wednesday.

Pilots weren't sure what they were dealing with, but thought it could be a pressurization problem. Out of an abundance of caution, the pilots made a rapid decent, dropping 27,000 feet in eight minutes.

"Then things started to get a little more panicky. It seemed like there was some emergency that was happening that wasn't just because of medical, and they said there was a loss of cabin pressure. So, at that point, they asked up to tighten our seat belts and we basically nosedived until we leveled out at 10,000 feet. And that was pretty darn scary," said Vanessa Bergmann, a passenger.

The FAA also reported a pressure problem on the plane, but a spokesperson for SkyWest, which operates the flight for United Express, said there was no pressure problem.

Throughout the tense few minutes, the pilot sounded calm and collected as he went through routine questions during an emergency.

Air Traffic Control: SkyWest 305 Tango, one last question here: Do you know the number of passengers on board?
Pilot: 84 souls on board for SkyWest 305 Tango
Air Traffic Control: 84?
Pilot: Affirmative. 8-4
Air Traffic Control: Thank you for all that. They will meet you at your gate. Contact tower on 120.5.
Pilot: Thank you for all your help today. Over to tower. SkyWest 305 Tango.

Paramedics met the Embraer E170, a United Express regional jet, in Buffalo, about 400 miles short of its scheduled destination in Hartford, Connecticut.

SkyWest officials said that all three passengers were evaluated by medical personnel at the airport and released.

SkyWest officials said the Embraer E170's oxygen masks did not release and there have been no indications of a pressurization problem or other issues with the aircraft.

The plane is being checked out as a precaution, and a new plane was brought in to take the passengers to Hartford.

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