A Chinese plane turned round on the runway after a couple on board suffered a sudden bereavement.
The Hainan Airlines flight was due to fly from Hangzhou to Sanya on Sunday when the passengers asked to be let off so they could make alternative travel plans.
“The flight was due to take off on time, all preparations had been made. The plane was already taxiing,” one unnamed passenger told Pear Video.
“The air stewardess immediately comforted the elderly couple, told them not to worry and said that she had already contacted the captain … then an in-flight announcement was made so that everyone could understand the situation.”
“[W]e were moments before take-off. Someone suddenly said their relative had passed away and wanted to get off the plane,” the passenger wrote on social media in a post shared by Pear Video.
“Cabin crew contacted the captain and we are now returning to the departure terminal. I can only say that the deceased must have been important.”
The plane returned to the departure gate, where the elderly couple got off and made other travel arrangements.
The flight was able to continue after a 50-minute delay.
An unnamed flight attendant told video news outlet Kankan News that they often encountered unexpected situations during flights, and that everyone was able to understand Sunday’s situation.
However, some social media users were not so sympathetic.
“I want to know, did they get the consent of all the passengers before the plane was turned around? If not, then I feel like the flight should take off at the scheduled time … otherwise people might think that these elderly passengers pulled some strings behind the scenes with the cabin crew,” wrote one user on Weibo.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.