msnbc.com
updated 1/25/2011 11:06:13 AM ET 2011-01-25T16:06:13

The pilot on a Qantas airliner was forced to rapidly descend more than 25,000 feet on Tuesday after the cabin lost pressure due to an air conditioning problem, according to a report from AFP.

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An airline spokesperson said oxygen masks were deployed on the Adelaide-to-Melbourne flight, and the jet — a Boeing 737-400 — dropped from 36,000 feet to 10,000 feet.

"There was a little bit of panic down the back of the plane and some of the passengers needed to be comforted by the hostesses," a passenger told an Australian radio station, AFP reported. "One lady in particular was fairly panicked."

The jet was carrying 99 passengers, AFP reported , and was just a half hour away from its destination when the depressurization and subsequent descent happened. The plane landed safely in Melbourne, and no injuries were reported.

"There are two air conditioning systems on the aircraft — one of them failed at the cruising altitude, that's when they started to descend," the spokesperson told AFP.

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