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Delta flight makes emergency landing after quick 29,000-foot descent

Delta probing dramatic mid-air descent

A Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, made an emergency landing Wednesday afternoon in Tampa after dropping some 29,000 feet in eight-plus minutes, causing oxygen masks to deploy. The carrier said Flight 2353 "diverted to Tampa out of an abundance of caution and landed without incident following a cabin pressurization irregularity en route."

The Federal Aviation Administration said pilots declared an emergency for the Boeing 767-300. Delta called it a "controlled descent."

Preliminary data posted to Flightaware.com shows the plane descended from 39,000 feet at 4:34 p.m. to 9,975 feet at 4:42 p.m.

Delta said the plane landed safely without incident and customers deplaned normally, then were bussed to Fort Lauderdale sand arrived Wednesday night. The aircraft was being evaluated by maintenance technicians, Delta added.

CBS Tampa affiliate WTSP-TV reported the flight apparently changed course while over the Gulf of Mexico.

Passengers took to Twitter, some praising the crew, others describing anxious moments:

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