When Tiffani O & # 39; Brien opened her eyes, she was still in the same place she fell asleep – attached to its seat aboard an Air Canada aircraft tied to Toronto.
Just something wasn't right. The whole plane was empty, Brien wrote in a Facebook post shared last week by her friend on her behalf. She was "freezing cold" and sat in "complete darkness." It was around midnight, and her flight, which left Quebec City that night, had landed hours earlier.
"I thought," This is a nightmare "Brien, who is from St. Thomas, Ontario, told CTV News in an interview sent over the weekend." This is not happening. I have a bad dream. Wake up, Tiffani. "
But O & # 39; Brien says what she experienced was very real, and the Canadian airline now looks at how a sleeping passenger could have been left behind," the Associated Press reported. Air Canada did not respond to a request for comment late Sunday but confirmed to the AP that the incident happened.
"We are still considering this case, so we have no further details to share, but we have followed up with the customer and remain in touch with her, the airline said.
Since she went through the incident earlier this month, B & B; Brien said that she has suffered from insomnia and "resurrected night fears", according to the Facebook record, like her friend, Deanna Noel-Dale, shared on Air Canada's official site on Wednesday. The post identified the passenger as "Tiffani Adams", but in a message to The Washington Post, Noel-Dale confirmed that her friend's legal name is Brien.
Noel-Dale added that she and O & # 39; Brien went down to comment on the incident, referring to the lawyer.
In the post, B & B; Brien wrote that she was on her way home to herself on June 9 after having "the most amazing time" with Noel-Dale during a weekend trip to Quebec City, located about 160 miles northeast for Montreal. The flight to Toronto Pearson International Airport was only about a quarter full, so B & B's scored a whole bunch of seats for himself. Brien told CTV News that she was sitting in 32A, near the center of the plane.
"I became familiar with reading my book," she wrote on Facebook, and fell asleep less than halfway through the 90-minute ride
When she woke up, her nightmare began.
Alone and surrounded by "tone black" darkness, O & # 39; Brien wrote that she originally thought she was dreaming. But reality soon arose on her: She was trapped on an empty plane.
Grabbed her phone, O & B; Brien swapped outbreaking text messages with Noel-Dale, who had been waiting for her friend to check in after landing, CTV News reported
"I just woke up in airplanes," wrote O & # 39; Brien Noel-Dale at 11:45 am, according to reports published by CTV News.
"What ?!" Noel-Dale replied. "You should almost be at home! No one woke you up?"
In another text, Noel-Dale asked if Brien could get off the plane. No, Brien replied, the door was closed.
Brien tried to FaceTime Noel-Dale, but her phone died in the middle of the conversation. Failure to find any jobs because the aircraft's power had been shut down, said Brien that she was starting to freak out.
"[S] ince I can't charge my phone to call for help I'm in a panic [because] I want this nightmare as soon as possible," she wrote.
She took to the cockpit where she tried to radio for help, but it didn't work either.
Then she found a flashlight.
"I was so happy," she told CTV News. "It was like the best moment ever."
With the flashlight, Brien began to make "sos signals" out of the plane's windows, hoping that the light would catch some attention. When it didn't seem to work, she showed the attention of the main coffee door, "determined to unlock the door and save myself," she wrote.
When she opened the door, Brien said she could see the lights at the airport in the distance, and realized that the plane had been parked overnight far from the terminal. With a 40- to 50-foot drop between her and the asphalt, Brien wrote that she desperately searched for a rope and thought about using the airfare, but found that they were too short. Instead, she told herself to "hang out the door that reflects the flashlight from the side of the plane."
However, Noel-Dale said CTV News that she lost contact with Brien, she called the airport.
I said, "My friend is trapped on the plane, in the dark, locked in, and she just woke up. I need someone to go get her," said Noel-Dale.
On Facebook, O & B; Brien said she was rescued by someone who drove a "luggage cart". When she arrived at the terminal, a representative from Air Canada was asked by Brien if she was ok and offered her a limo and a hotel she wrote that she refused. After the incident, Brien wrote that Air Canada called her twice to "apologize for my inconvenience" and said the company would investigate.
Toronto Pearson International Airport did not respond to a request for comment late Sunday. In a statement to CBS News, an airport station manager said, "We are aware of this passenger's history, and we can surely realize the concern she must have felt."
"I'm asking for help," wrote Brien in the Facebook post. "I really want to find out if anyone had been through this too [because] 10 days later, and I'm still a wreck."
In fact, there have been several cases of sleeping passengers being left behind on planes in the past years. In 2010, a British law professor flying on Air Canada's regional discount boat, Air Canada Jazz, was awakened by a mechanic after the plane was taken to a hangar at the Vancouver International Airport, ABC News reported. The same year, a Michigan woman who fell asleep during a flight from Dulles International Airport to Philadelphia caught more than three hours after landing, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2013, a Louisiana man also found himself in a dark, locked flight at Houston's intercontinental airport after he slept through the landing, ABC News reported.
Brien wrote that she continues to be influenced by her experience and now struggles to sleep, often "waking up fear and anxiety" that she is alone and caught "somewhere dark."
"It's just a pure sense of helplessness when you feel you're locked in on this plane," Brien told CTV News, "and you have no connection with the outside world."
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