American Airlines Plane Makes Emergency Landing in Abilene

An American Airlines plane heading from Mexico to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport made an emergency stop in Abilene Tuesday afternoon after experiencing a cabin pressure problem.

American spokesman Matt Miller said Tuesday that Flight 1225 was on its way from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to DFW when it was forced to land.

Miller said the MD-80 landed safely in Abilene after "an issue related to cabin pressure." The oxygen masks did not deploy, despite the depressurization, Miller said.

That did not mean the passengers were spared from the sensation of the pressure drop.

"It's sort of like you're on a roller coaster, really," said Najmah Walton, of Dallas, who was one of the 133 passengers and five crew members on board the flight to DFW.

"We just went down so fast, because I think [the pilot] said we were at like 30,000 feet and then we went down to 10,000 just like that," Walton said.

Other passengers mentioned the same sudden pressure loss as the most uncomfortable part of the incident.

"I got up to go to the bathroom and I was so dizzy I couldn't see what I was doing because my ears were popping so bad," said Priscilla Hiley, of Fort Worth. "I kept trying to make them pop and they wouldn't and I thought, 'Gosh this is odd.' And then it kind of just got worse and worse and worse."

Once on the ground in Abilene, the passengers were held on the plane while ground crews made repairs because the regional airport does not have customs agents to process people arriving on an international flight.

At one point, an ambulance was called to the plane because one of the passengers suffered a panic attack, further delaying the flight's departure.

After approximately 90 minutes to two hours in Abilene, Flight 1225 took off toward DFW and arrived shortly after 7 p.m.

NBC 5's Ben Russell contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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