Plane Plunge of 2008 Over Australia Remains Mystery

Back in October 2008, a Qantas jet – an Airbus A330 – plunged more than 650 feet during a flight from Singapore to Perth, injuring more than a third of the 303 passengers aboard and nine of the crew members. 51 people had to be sent to the hospital.

119 Passengers and Crew Injured

Now, after years of investigation, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its final report on the incident and while it advances some possible scenarios, a spokesperson has said that it may never be known exactly what caused the problem. According to news reports, it was learned that there was a “bug in the software design of the flight’s computers” which has since been fixed, but apparently there is no precise explanation as to why the computer indicated the plane’s nose was too high when the aircraft was flying level at about 37,000 feet.

The report also states that the crew responded rapidly to the emergency – but still, the midair accident left 119 people injured.

The Importance of Staying Buckled Up

However, analysts note there is one huge takeaway from the report, which can be stated in the oft-heard two word admonition of “Buckle up.”

Who are the Victims of Turbulence Injuries

As one ATSB official put it, “The most significant injuries were among the 60 passengers who had not secured their seatbelts.”

For years, flight attendants have been telling people that keep their seat belts on, even when the seat belt sign is turned off. For one thing, turbulence can and does occur at any time with no warning and as one American Airlines flight attendant told us, “You don’t want to end up on the ceiling like pancake batter, do you?”

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Published: December 19, 2011