A Delta Airlines flight traveling from New York to Accra, Ghana on July 25 had to make a U-turn mid-flight due to a fuel issue.
According to Newsweek, YouTuber Xiaoma, whose real name is Arieh Smith, shared his account of the incident on his YouTube channel, xiaomanyc. Smith says it was the scariest day of his life as the plane turned around over the Atlantic Ocean to head back to New York.
The nonstop transatlantic flight was delayed an hour due to thunderstorms, but eventually, the weather calmed down and the flight was cleared for take-off. Two-and-a-half hours into the 10-hour flight, the captain walked down the aisle looking at one of the plane’s wings through the window.
“This is causing a bit of a stir,” Smith narrates in his YouTube video. “I remember saying to the guy sitting next to me ‘this doesn’t look good.'”
Thirty minutes later, an announcement resounded over the speakers. The captain said there was a fuel problem and that they would have to turn the plane around and head back to New York.
“I’m really grateful that it all worked out,” said Smith in an interview with Newsweek. “But in the moment, I was just thinking like, well, you know, these are my last moments on Earth, I better say something to my wife.”
“People were understandably freaking out. The woman next to me had her Koran out, praying. People were just like, whispering, talking to each other, and praying. There’s nothing you can even do at that point.”
In his video, Smith is seen speaking to the camera. “I hope everything’s OK with this flight,” he said. “It’d be really great to be able to hold my baby again. I really hope I’m overreacting here. I’m sure I am.”
Smith says he was relieved when the plane safely landed despite being surrounded by ambulances and fire trucks.
“Delta flight DL9923 on July 25, en route from New York-JFK to Accra, returned to New York-JFK out of an abundance of caution due to operational reasons,” a Delta spokesperson said to Newsweek.
“The flight landed safely and customers deplaned as normal. The safety and security of Delta’s passengers and crew is Delta’s number one priority. Delta‘s customer support teams at JFK were engaged on the ground to assist affected customers and Delta deeply apologizes for the inconvenience and delay of their planned travel.”