Spirit Airlines Flight Forced to Nose Dive to Avoid Skydiving Plane

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It is everyone's worst fear when boarding an aircraft that it will do a nosedive and fall straight to Earth mid-flight, and that's exactly what happened during a recent Spirit airlines trip.

The Airbus-319 was carrying 131 people on board and was forced to do a nose dive on Sunday after the pilots were told that a small skydiving aircraft was in their flight path.

The plane was Texas-bound and took off from Detroit, Mich. 

The passengers were not warned about the drop, and were told afterward that it was performed due to a flight control issue.

Janet Dunnabeck, who was returning to Whitney, Texas with her ten and 19-year-old daughters was horrified.

"Every person on that plane was screaming. We thought we were going down," she said. 

While no one was seriously injured, flight attendants bumped their heads and luggage spilled everywhere.

The Federal Aviation Administration is currently investigating the incident.

It happened when the plane was flying over Tecumseh, Mich. around 8:22 p.m. 

"Air traffic controllers notified the Spirit pilot that a skydiving jump plane was climbing just south of the jetliner's position," FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said.

"The Spirit pilot confirmed that he could see the smaller aircraft on his Terminal Collision Avoidance System. A minute later, the Spirit jet received an automated TCAS warning that required him to begin an immediate 1,600-foot descent to 12,800 feet from a previous altitude of 14,400 feet. At the closest, the two planes were 1.6 miles apart horizontally and 400 feet vertically."

Jolene Dunnabeck, Janet's youngest, said she was "really scared."

"It felt like we were falling, we were going to hit the ground and die," she said.

Janet said, "Thank God he was able to control the plane."

Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said the pilots did everything they needed to do to ensure the safety of their passengers.

"Our pilots followed appropriate procedures and adjusted their flight path upon receiving an advisory of another possible aircraft in range," Pinson said. "The flight continued to Dallas/Fort Worth without incident."

The FAA is placing the blame on the skydiving plane's pilot.

"The skydiving plane was flying under Visual Flight Rules, under which pilots are responsible for seeing and avoiding other aircraft," they said.

While the Dunnabeck's are grateful that they made it home safely, they think the pilots should have been warned about the skydiving plane sooner.

"We're still wondering who dropped the ball," Gabrielle Dunnabeck said. 

Sources: Daily Mail, USA Today