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U.S. Air Force Plane Diverted To Westover Air Reserve Base In Chicopee

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BEDFORD (CBS) – About thirty ambulances were put on standby at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford Saturday afternoon for a potential emergency involving an incoming Air Force plane.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Lt. Col. James Bishop, the Chief of Public Affairs at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, told WBZ-TV a C-5B military transport plane traveling from Ramstein Air Base in Germany was heading to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware when there was a loss of cabin pressure over the Atlantic Ocean around 11 a.m.

The plane was flying at 34,000 feet at the time.

“When this happened they came down to 25,000 feet and then down to 10,000 feet and all the oxygen equipment deployed,” U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Biscoe told WBZ-TV

“When this incident developed today, (the crew) knew exactly what to do. They got the checklists out and they brought that airplane down safely and quickly.”

Bishop said there was no in-flight emergency. But a decision was made to land the plane at it’s home base in Westover.  Hanscom and Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire were put on alert as a precaution.

Ambulances on standby at Hanscom Air Force Base Saturday. (WBZ-TV)

Ambulances on standby at Hanscom Air Force Base Saturday. (WBZ-TV)

The plane landed safely at Westover at 2:29 p.m.

The C-5 B military transport plane at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee after the landing, Feb. 8, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Westover ARB-Facebook)

The C-5 B military transport plane at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee after the landing, Feb. 8, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Westover ARB-Facebook)

There were a total of 25 people on board the aircraft – 15 passengers and 10 crew members.

Shortly after the flight landed, a little girl was helped off the C-5 and taken to an ambulance and a local hospital.

A girl was taken to the hospital after the flight. (WBZ-TV)

A girl was taken to the hospital after the flight. (WBZ-TV)

The Westover public affairs office later said in a statement she had “a minor injury.”

No other injuries were reported.

Experts say losing cabin pressure can be fatal.

“What happens is initially you have an incredible pain in the ears, almost indescribable pain because of the pressure differential on the inner ear. You can have some nosebleeds or you can get unconsciousness.” Steve Cunningham, the owner of Nashua Flight Simulator, a training center in New Hampshire, told WBZ.

The C-5B aircraft is assigned to the 439th Airlift Wing at Westover.

The plane will be put through a full safety check before it is put back into service.

There’s no word yet what caused the loss of cabin pressure.

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