Another Boeing 737-800 experiences sudden dive, lands safely in KL, Malaysia

A mid-air incident in Asia is turning heads in the airline industry, after a Malaysia Airlines flight from capital KL to Borneo dipped its nose and dropped suddenly, allegedly flying erratically before turning back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The incident happened last Sunday, but has only now come to light after passengers posted their stories on social media, prompting the airline to release a statement. They said the aircraft from KLIA turned back due to “technical issues” after encountering inclement weather along the route to Borneo island city of Tawau in Sabah. The aircraft in question was an 8 year old Boeing 737-800, the same model of aircraft that crashed in southern China last month, killing all 132 passengers and crew.

Flight MH2664 had reportedly been cruising at an altitude of 9,450 metres, when it took an unexpected dive, dropping more than 2,100 meters in a matter of seconds, before it was stabilised at 7,315 metres.

Meanwhile, an online flight radar tracker shows the plane dropping suddenly from 7,620 to 7,010m… a drop of 610 metres over just a 1 minute period. Passengers claim the entire terrifying incident lasted for about 10 minutes as the plane flew erratically.

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Passenger Halimah Nasoha posted about her experience some 30 minutes into the mid-afternoon flight, saying many passengers panicked, screamed and some were crying as the aircraft lost altitude sharply…

“It was very frightening for many of us. I really felt like I was going to die… The flight was unstable. It went up and then went down. But, the first time it went downwards was the worst.”

She recounted how she ‘floated’ out of her seat because her seat belt was unfastened as the seat belt signs were turned off at that point (airlines always suggest you keep your seat belt fastened, even when the seat belt sign is off).

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia said they’ll be examining the plane’s internal Flight Data Monitoring System, but indicate the pilots appear to have responded correctly. An aircraft’s FDMS monitors and records all flight data profiles, according to CAAM chief executive Captain Datuk Chester Voo Chee Soon…

“Preliminary data has shown correct responses by the operating crew following the issue onboard…. CAAM will continue to monitor the situation and will not compromise on any issues that might jeopardise the safety and security of airline operations and the public.”

“The aircraft made an air turn-back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport as per the required safety procedures and landed safely at 5.03pm… The pilot in command and co-pilot managed the technical issue safely and returned to Kuala Lumpur for the required maintenance action.”

He said CAAM had confirmed that following a technical issue experienced on board, Malaysia Airlines had submitted a “Mandatory Occurrence Report” regarding flight MH2664 from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau on Sunday. Since the incident, CAAM has been working with Malaysia Airlines to make sure they had addressed all aspects of technical safety, and observed the safety procedures and regulations, including pilot responses and airworthiness processes for the Boing 737-800.

SOURCE: New Straits Times | Simply Flying | Malaysian Airlines

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Jay Shine

A longtime expat in Asia with a degree in journalism and creative writing. Highlights include writing for Condé Nast Traveller and Apple Music. In his spare time, Jay enjoys writing poetry, brewing traditional Chinese tea and lounging with his calico soi cat, Almond.