Passengers on an Aer Lingus flight from Zurich to Dublin on Saturday were told the plane was going to make an emergency landing at sea.
However, about two minutes later passengers were told to ignore the announcement, which was made when the flight was over sea.
The flight landed without further incident on schedule at Dublin Airport shortly after noon.
“I was sitting near the back with my son, who had headphones on,” said Dubliner Fearghal O’Lideacha, who lives in Zurich and was on the flight.
As best he could remember, the prerecorded message read: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is an emergency. Prepare for a forced landing.”
O’Lideacha said he is interested in aviation and knew that a forced landing meant going into the water.
He said there was very little reaction to the announcement, possibly because so many people were wearing headphones. She made eye contact with a woman who was sitting nearby and babysitting.
“I could see the anguish on his face,” he told The Irish Times. Flight attendants were behind curtains at each end of the plane and no one ran out to tell passengers what to do, which he took as a good sign.
A male passenger at the front of the plane walked up to the curtain and spoke to the cabin crew, and when he turned around, his body language indicated he wasn’t panicking, O’Lideacha said.
“Then one of the flight crew made an announcement that we should ignore the previous announcement. That was a great relief. I’d say it was about two minutes later.”
An airline spokeswoman said an incorrect pre-recorded announcement was momentarily played on board during Aer Lingus flight EI343 from Zurich to Dublin.
“A follow-up announcement was made informing passengers of the error. At no time during the flight was there a risk to the safety of the aircraft or the people on board.”