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In-flight message sparks passenger terror

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"This is an emergency. We will shortly be making an emergency landing on water."

British Airways apologized today for an error that left passengers on board a flight from Miami to London in a state of panic and shock.


Passengers traveling on British Airways Flight 206 were about three hours into their flight early Friday morning when an announcement warned them to brace themselves for an emergency water landing because the plane was about to go down.

The cabin erupted in panic as startled passengers woke to the announcement and feared for their lives.


"My wife was crying and passengers were screaming," a passenger from Scotland told The Telegraph.  "I thought we were going to die."


The crew played a second announcement a minute later, however, telling passengers to ignore the warning.


In reality, the plane was cruising safely at an altitude of 35,000 feet and halfway from Miami to London's Heathrow Airport at the time.


The flight continued safely to London, where the disembarking passengers were met by British Airways representatives handing out letters apologizing for the error.


The airline blamed the scare on a pre-recorded emergency announcement that was activated in error, according to the Daily Mail.  It was unclear whether the announcement resulted from human error, or a computer malfunction.

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