DENVER (CBS4)– Some Frontier Airlines passengers said they were left without oxygen masks during an in-flight emergency last month.

Frontier flight 787 left Denver International Airport for Las Vegas Oct. 14 and something went wrong over the mountains near Leadville.

The plane experienced a computer malfunction that resulted in a problem with pressurization. When the plane dropped below a certain pressure altitude the oxygen masks automatically deployed. But some passengers said they were left without them.

Kevin McClung described his experience on the Airbus 319.

“All the masks did not deploy. From the picture I have taken there were two rows in front of me that did not have masks,” said McClung. “There wasn’t much I could do because my mask and my neighbor’s mask wasn’t working, my wife’s mask was working.”

Video from inside the plane shows a man trying to get more air as the temperature inside the plane heated up.

Bruce Christian, a professor of aviation at Metropolitan State College of Denver said if you don’t have a mask, you can have problems.

“You get hypoxia, which is lack of oxygen and that’s basically loss of faculties,” said Christian.

The plane descended from 36,000 to 16,500 feet as it returned to DIA.

Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuck said all the masks dropped properly and dispensed oxygen.

(credit: CBS)

“If all the masks dropped the only way there could be unused masks or people without masks is because somebody used the wrong masks and that’s what we believe that’s what happened,” said Kowalchuck.

Frontier insists no one was ever in danger and that all masks dropped and oxygen did flow. The Federal Aviation Administration has requested some of the photos taken by passengers for their investigation.

Comments (4)
  1. Matt Baker says:

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  2. KM says:

    The masks deployed on our descent and turn back towards Denver. I do not know the exact descent in FPS, but it was as I would describe it rapid. I disagree with Frontier’s take on the situation that I was suffering from Hypoxia and possibly made an incorrect analysis of the situtation. I also disagree with the statement that all masks were deployed and that passengers grabbed the wrong ones. There were no extra masks in any area and the only effect I felt from the lack of oxygen was feeling light headed by the time we made it back to Denver. I was calm, collected and aware of our situation at all times. I am also a private pilot and do recognize situational awareness and Hypoxia.

  3. Gunny2862 says:

    Masks should drop either on Pilot Command, Stew Command or a certain descent rate above a certain altitude. Their primary value is to provide necessary oxygen AT altitude so having them deploy only below a certain level makes no sense.

  4. rmsbl4 says:

    Oxygen masks do not deploy when an acft drops below a certain altitude, otherwise they wold always be deploying when they are on the ground.

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