PASSENGERS were left in a panic after a plane cabin began filling with smoke mid air, leaving them struggling to breathe.
Travellers were left gasping for air for around 25 minutes and claimed they were told to “start praying” during the chaotic incident.
The SpiceJet flight from Goa, India, was forced to make an emergency landing at its destination of Hyderabad Airport.
One frantic woman could be heard shouting “bend down, stay down” as an alarm sounded in dramatic footage that captured the carnage.
She is barely visible amid the terrifying haze that engulfed the cabin, but shines a torchlight to help her assist horrified passengers.
Vivek Vishal, who was onboard flight SG 3735, last Wednesday at around 11pm, claimed oxygen masks didn’t deploy despite the smoke filling the cabin and cockpit mid air.
He fumed: “SpiceJet risks people’s life. We were choking for 25 minutes and even oxygen masks didn’t deploy.
“Strict action should be taken against such a negligent airline.”
Another alleged that cabin crew from the budget airline sparked further fear after telling people to “pray to God”.
Srikanth Mulupala said: “The crew members told us to pray to God and pray for our families – it was mortifying.
“Many of my co-passengers panicked and started shrieking.”
A spokesman for the airline denied these claims, branding them “unfounded” while adding that the crew followed appropriate protocol.
But other travellers went on to allege that SpiceJet staff snatched phones from passengers recording the incident and demanded they deleted pictures and videos.
The spokesman said the crew “advised the passengers against using their mobiles” as it is their duty during emergency evacuations.
Another said they had heard staff talking in “hushed tones” around 20 minutes before smoke flooded the cabin.
They added: “We felt like choking. However, the lights were turned on and the crew asked us not to leave our seats and stop talking.”
Further footage showed a fleet of emergency services waiting on the runway with wheelchairs ready to evacuate passengers.
The crew members told us to pray to God and pray for our families – it was mortifying.
Up to 86 people were said to be on board the budget airline’s flight from Goa during the emergency landing, which forced as many as nine flights to be diverted.
Passengers were herded off the aircraft via an emergency exit, with one sustaining minor injuries while disembarking, according to India’s aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The regulator ordered a probe into the incident while revealing the findings of a preliminary investigation.
It found engine oil in the engine bleed-off valve, leading to oil in the air-conditioning system, resulting in smoke in the cabin.
SpiceJet have now been ordered to send oil samples to aircraft engine manufacturing giants Pratt & Whitney Canada for analysis.
The airline was already in hot water with the DGCA following seven similar instances involving technical faults during flights this year, according to reports.
The firm is under enhanced supervision after a string of operational and financial controversies.
The regulator also directed the airline to operate at only 50 per cent of its flight capacity and extended the arrangement by one more month till October.