A sleeping mother who was left on a parked Air Canada plane has spoken out about the ordeal as the airline says it is still investigating.
Tiffani O’Brien said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft after her 90-minute flight from Quebec to Toronto on June 9.
‘I thought this is a nightmare, this is not happening, I am having a bad dream,’ she told CTV News, adding that she was still in her seat 32A when she woke up.
Air Canada has said it is looking into how crew members could have disembarked from a plane without noticing O’Brien.
The airline confirmed the incident took place but declined to comment on its disembarking procedures or how the passenger may have been overlooked.
Sleeping mother-of-two, Tiffani O’Brien (pictured), who was left on a parked Air Canada plane has spoken out about the ordeal as the airline says it is still investigating
Air Canada (file image) has said it is looking into how crew members could have disembarked from a plane without noticing O’Brien
‘We are still reviewing this matter so we have no additional details to share, but we have followed up with the customer and remain in contact with her,’ Air Canada said.
In a Facebook post shared by her friend, Deanna Noel-Dale, O’Brien said she called Noel-Dale to try to explain what happened, but her phone died and she couldn’t charge it because power to the plane was off.
Noel-Dale said she contacted Pearson International Airport to alert ground crews about the incident.
O’Brien, who struggles with anxiety and insomnia, said the experience was so frightening she immediately suffered a panic attack, with no cellphone battery to call for help and no idea how long she would be locked away
She said she was ‘full on panicking’ by the time she found th.e ‘walky talky thingys in the cockpit,’ which also didn’t work.
‘I was so scared that I was going to touch something wrong, but I knew I had to do something,’ she told CTV News.
In her Facebook post, O’Brien recalled how she had to focus on her breathing during her panic attack while she attempted to charge her phone.
‘As someone with an anxiety disorder, I can tell you how terrifying this was.’
O’Brien, who struggles with anxiety and insomnia, said the experience was so frightening she immediately suffered a panic attack on the plane (file image), with no cellphone battery to call for help and no idea how long she would be locked away
Persevering through the panic and determined to get home, she found a flashlight near the front of the plane and followed the steps of an instruction manual to unlock the aircraft’s main door. She recalled the incident in a Facebook post (pictured)
Persevering through the panic and determined to get home, O’Brien said she scrambled around the plane’s cabin and cockpit attempting to find something that would help to alert anyone near-by that she was trapped onboard.
Eventually, she found a flashlight near the front of the plane and followed the steps of an instruction manual to unlock the aircraft’s main door.
But her elation soon returned to despair when she looked down to be greeted by a 50ft drop to the concrete below.
‘I hang out the door trying to get the attention of ground crew I can see Pearson’s lights but too far away – I’m where the aircrafts park overnight there is no one around,’ O’Brien said.
‘I search frantically for a rope so I can climb down to safely. [The] flight attendants seat is right by door I opened but the seatbelt is too short to hang from.’
For the next several hours – she’s unsure just how long – a resigned O’Brien sat with her legs dangling from the plane, shining her flashlight against its exterior in an on-off pattern she believed to signal SOS.
Eventually a man driving a luggage cart nearby caught a glimpse of the flickering torchlight and started driving towards her.
She says the driver was in shock, asking her ‘how the heck’ they managed to leave a person on a plane before all going home.
O’Brien said she told the man that she was ‘wondering the same’ thing.
She said that Air Canada personnel asked if she was OK and whether she would like a limo and hotel, but she declined the offer. She said airline representatives apologized for the incident.
‘I haven’t got much sleep since the reoccurring night terrors and waking up anxious and afraid I’m alone locked up someplace dark,’ she wrote.