Diana Lee and Rebecca Yu
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Shaken passengers yesterday told of a terrifying and chaotic bolt for safety after their Cathay Pacific flight made an emergency landing in Hong Kong.
The crew of a Cathay Airbus A330 made the emergency touchdown at Hong Kong International Airport yesterday afternoon after an engine failure.The dramatic landing of CX780 from the Indonesian city of Surabaya ended with eight passengers injured from the 322 people, including 13 crew, on board.
Passengers had been generally calm despite the aircraft shaking and the hard landing, but chaos broke out when the captain announced an emergency evacuation and people scrambled for exits. "I was so scared," admitted passenger Dewi from Surabaya.
Dewi, in her 20s, said: "The plane was shaking but not severely when approaching the runway. I thought it was normal, and none of the other passengers seemed worried."
But the calm was shattered, she said, "when the captain told us there was an emergency and all passengers had to leave the plane immediately.
"Suddenly, the cabin became pretty chaotic. Many people rushed to the doors, screaming and crying. My brain was totally empty at that moment. I was pushed forward by those behind me.
"We could see fire burning in the rear from the windows. Everyone wanted to be the first to leave the plane. No one cared to follow the crew's guidance."
People piled up when sliding down emergency chutes to the tarmac, recalled Dewi, who injured her right hand. "About 10 passengers huddled together at the end of a chute. I saw some of those following step on them to get past."
Passenger Siti Mufarida also spoke of a chaotic response to the evacuation call.
A mainland woman remembered that "the lights in the cabin were twinkling when the plane was landing" and later that "the smell of scorched rubber was everywhere in the air."
A Civil Aviation Department team is investigating the incident, though a Cathay Pacific spokesman explained that "the left-hand engine of the aircraft had shut down as the aircraft made its landing approach. The other engine was functioning."
The crew alerted the control tower that it was to be an emergency landing, and then came touchdown at 1.43pm, blowing out six tires and sparking a small fire at the undercarriage near one of the wheels. Firemen quickly doused it. Cathay chief executive Tony Tyler said six of the plane's tires - all four on the left-hand side of the aircraft and two on the right - were deflated after touchdown. The tires are designed to deflate during emergency braking to prevent then from bursting, he noted.
Tyler also said the aircraft had been in service since 1998 and underwent regular inspections. The captain of the flight is experienced, he added.
Of the eight injured passengers, six were taken to Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment and two to Yan Chai Hospital. Four were discharged, after treatment of minor injuries to the head and limbs. But a woman remained in serious condition.
Li Leung-ming, in command of the Fire Service Department's air division, said units were ready when the plane landed. He also described the evacuation of passengers as "smooth."
A preliminary report on the incident will be released in a month, but a detailed one will take longer. "We want to find out the cause of the incident to prevent a recurrence," said Director- General of Civil Aviation Norman Lo Shung-man.
He said it could not be ascertained if passengers were injured before or after the emergency evacuation.
"Yet I would like to point out, in an emergency landing like this a few injuries have been common in foreign experiences," he said.
The airport's north runway was closed for two hours and 20 minutes during and after the incident. More than 100 arriving and departing flights were delayed.
Actually there is another piece of news about this which motivates me to post the news here. but that one is in chinese and this is the only piece in english that i found on the internet.
anyway~ here is the link of that piece of news. anyone who is interested can read this from http://hk.news.yahoo.com/article/100413/3/hhm6.html but i think most of you need google translate for this one=]
that piece of news reported a list of accident happened to a similar model of airbus.
the plane in this incident was Airbus A330-300.
On 1st june 2009, a similar model A330-200 from airfrance had a serious accident at the Atlantic and no survivor was found.
On 7th oct 2008, the same airbus model as the cathay incident, A330-300, descended suddenly for 650ft because the autopoilot was out of control.
On 28th april 2001, again, the same airbus model A330-243 had broken engines on both sides within 13min. the plane had to glide and had an emergency landing in a military airport.
this piece of news makes me reflect on the things we learned so far. product failure can be caused by a lot of issues. though it is likely that we are not going to be the one to design product, or to repair the products, it is always good for us to have some knowledge about what kind of techniques or tools can be used so that we would have a background to manage the company and the people.
it is interesting that after yesterday's lesson on situation awareness and then i woke up this morning to see this news happened in my home town.
yesterday, i talked with my friend about our future career path. in hong kong, it is very likely that we cannot choose the job we really enjoy but to get a job first and work and work and work. sometimes, i feel quite discouraged because after all the things we learned in mbe, when i go back to hong kong, i dont know how much i can contribute to make things change. of course, i'll try my very best, but it is really difficult to change a lot. When i read the news, u know there must be some problems with the airbus, but all you can do is to wait someone to improve the problem. the capability for a single human is so small but there are infinite number of problems in the world.
nothing... i just feel a bit sad to know so many accidents is happening around the world which can all be prevented.
right! at the end of the day, we should all equip ourselves and hopefully, we can make our contribution from a very tiny part and spread the whole idea to the rest.