• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

United Airlines flight nosedives 427-metres, almost crashes into ocean

A plane flying from Hawaii to California has taken an abrupt dive, plummeting to less than 240 metres of the Pacific Ocean.

The scary moment is believed to have lasted about 45 seconds and happened just after takeoff from Maui on December 18 but was previously unreported, The Air Current revealed on Monday.

The United Airlines Boeing 777-200 was bound for San Francisco when it left Kahului Airport at 2.49pm local time in “stormy conditions”.

It was found the plane reached about 2200 feet (670m) before a steep dive descending at a rate of 8600 feet (2621m) per minute, falling to 775 feet (236m). The aircraft climbed back up to 33,000 feet (10,058m) and flew to California as planned.

The steep dive and recovery put nearly 2.7Gs of force on the passengers on-board, a person familiar with the incident told The Air Current.

The incident was investigated and the pilots, with about 25,000 hours of flying experience between them, are undergoing extra training.

“After landing at SFO, the pilots filed the appropriate safety report,” United Airlines told news.com.au in a statement.

“United then closely co-ordinated with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) on an investigation that ultimately resulted in the pilots receiving additional training. Safety remains our highest priority.”

The FAA told news.com.au the flight crew had reported the incident to the FAA as part of a voluntary safety reporting program.

“The agency reviewed the incident and took appropriate action,” it said.

FAA said reports about safety events and issues under the program are kept confidential to encourage voluntary disclosure. It recommends changes needed after reviewing the reports.

On the same day as the United plane’s abrupt dive, 36 people were injured on a Hawaiian Airlines flight when it was hit by horrifying turbulence.

Officials at the time said 20 people – among them a 14-month-old baby – were hospitalised with injuries ranging from lacerations and bruises to severe head injuries, including 11 patients who were in serious condition. Another 16 were also treated for injuries, reports said.

The flight was travelling from Phoenix to Honolulu.

Just last month a Qatar Airways plane came within seconds of hitting the water after taking off from Hamad International Airport, the carrier’s hub in Doha.

The Boeing 787-8 had climbed to about 1800 feet (550m) then dropped by around 1000 feet (300m) within around 30 seconds for reasons unknown, according to The Aviation Herald.

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