Photo of Southwest passengers in oxygen masks prompts concern

Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 may have landed safely, but photos posted on social media from the moments leading up to the emergency landing yesterday have revealed things could have been a lot worse.

One particular photo shows three people, all incorrectly wearing their oxygen masks.

On this occasion, the pilots of were able to get the aircraft to an altitude that would allow passengers to breathe normally. However, had the plane stayed at a higher altitude, with the cabin de-pressurised, the oxygen masks would have saved the lives of those who were wearing them.

At heights above 15,000 feet (4.57km), humans can experience hypoxia - a condition that comes about when there's not enough oxygen getting into their bloodstream. This can make them fall unconscious within minutes.  

So, are we zoning out when we go through a safety briefing before taking off?

Had these passengers paid attention, they would have heard the instructions - variants of which are read out on every commercial flight around the world.

Passengers on-board Southwest flight
Its not what you wear, its how you wear it. Photo credit: Supplied.

"In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you.

"Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally." 

As the photo shows, the rules of covering your nose and mouth and using the elastic to keep it secure haven't been followed.

Radio Live's Lisa Owen and Ryan Bridge spoke to television host and former flight attendant Bobby Laurie who was shocked to see how the masks were being worn.

"Oh my gosh, the first thing I noticed was the oxygen masks being worn incorrectly" he said while explaining just how poorly the passengers were looking after themselves.

Watch the video for the full RadioLIVE interview.

An investigation into the incident is underway, including passengers use of safety equipment.