Malaysian Airlines 737 plunges mid-air, passengers ‘float’ in their seats

Malaysian Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Credit: Runway Girl Network

Malaysia Airlines has responded to questions over an ‘incident’ with one of their Boeing 737 aircraft last Sunday, commenting that “the plane performed an air turn back due to technical issues with the aircraft, compounded by bad weather en route”.

Those “issues” caused MH2664, flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Sabah on the eastern island of Borneo, to plunge some 31,000 ft to 24,000 ft “within seconds”, according to one of the passengers.

Domestic flights would typically cruise somewhere in the range of 30 – 36,000 feet (approx. 9,000 – 11,000 metes). The flight from KL to Tawau in Sabah dropped ‘suddenly’ in mid-air, with passengers panicking and screaming as the plane lost altitude sharply.

Halimah Nasoha, one of the passengers, has shared her account of the flight MH2664, that she boarded last Sunday at 2:30pm. At about 3:03pm she recounted, and confirmed on the website FlightRadar24, the plane suddenly plunged from 31,000 feet to 24,000 feet. In just one minute period, during the 10 minute incident, the altitude dropped to 23,375 feet before climbing back to 25,450 feet, according to FlightRadar24.

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“I was tossed around a few times because I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt… The passengers were shouting and crying. It felt as if we were going to die.”

Several passengers say they “floated” in their seats, as a Malaysia Airlines 737 to Tawau suddenly “dove” without any warning. MAS told media yesterday that the plane made a U-turn and flew around the Melaka area before heading back to the to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Passengers then took another flight on Sunday evening and safely reached Tawau at 9:50pm. Many of the passengers decided to stay in KL as they absorbed the shock from the 10 minute plunge and recovery.

“Not everyone who has gone through this type of experience gets to live to share their story, and for that I am grateful. Thank you to the pilots who managed to take control of the plane and save us.”

MAS say the return to KLIA was “a precautionary measure”. Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia has already confirmed they’ve been in close contact with MAS “to ensure that all the technical safety matters were addressed in accordance with safety procedures and regulations”…

“These included pilot responses and airworthiness processes for the aircraft type.”

The aircraft type was an 8 year old Boeing 737-800 model, manufactured in Seattle, USA. It was an almost identical model as the 737 aircraft that crashed in southern China on March 21, killing all 132 crew and passengers. The cause of that aircraft’s sudden plunge, and near vertical, into mountains is currently under investigation.

The latest model of the Boeing 737 family, the Boeing 737 Max, was involved in 2 fatal incident, killing all passengers on a Thai Lion flight and then an Ethiopian Aiways flight, some 5 months later.

Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea in Indonesia on October 29, 2018 after taking off from Jakarta. All 189 people on board died. The plane was scheduled to make a one-hour journey to Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed the morning of March 10, 2019 after taking off from Addis Ababa on its way to Nairobi, Kenya, killing all 157 people on board. The plane was carrying passengers from around the world, many of whom worked for the UN.

The 737 Max model was grounded around the world during which an extensive investigation revealed malfunctioning software, known as MCAS. The Boeing 737-800 is part of the earlier 737 NG series.

SOURCE: Runway Girl Network

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