A United Airlines flight that took off from the Hawaiian island of Maui late last year made a steep dive shortly after takeoff and came within 800 feet of the Pacific Ocean before regaining altitude
The plane plunged from 2,200 feet to 775 feet over the Pacific Ocean before recovering and continuing its path to San Francisco, officials confirmed to CBS News on Sunday.
Flight UA1722 descended as fast as 8,600 feet per minute, according to preliminary data from Flightradar24.com. The incident occurred after the plane took off during a storm, with heavy rain and a flash flood warning and was first reported by Air Current.
The pilots filed the appropriate safety report after landing in San Francisco, United Airlines told CBS News in a statement. CBS News aviation safety analyst Robert Sumwalt called the dip an alarming event.
The good thing is you had two trained pilots who were able to act and keep this from becoming a major catastrophe.
The pilots on the flight fully cooperated with the investigation and are still in their retraining program. It is unclear if air traffic controllers noticed the plane’s steep dive and there is no mention of it on audio recordings.
That same day, another flight out of Hawaii experienced severe turbulence, and 25 people onboard were injured.
The storm system wreaking havoc in Hawaii was the same one that caused Southwest Airlines to scrub thousands of flights during the holiday season because they were unable to recover.
The airline is now being investigated by federal officials over the handling of its schedule after the massive storm. The NTSB has not initiated an investigation into the United incident at this time.
Several safety concerns on flights and at airports have made headlines in recent months. In January, an American Airlines plane and a Delta plane nearly collided on the runway at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.
The pilots of both planes have been subpoenaed after the National Transportation Safety Board says it had attempted to interview the pilots three times and they are not cooperating, according to CBS New York.
The pilots do not want to have their statements recorded, a union representative said.
Last week, a Southwest plane was told it could take off from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, just as a FedEx cargo airplane was told it could land on the same runway.
The cargo plane had to change its course after it had descended to about 150 feet, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Associated Press reports. It landed 11 minutes later.
And in Los Angeles last week, a bus collided with a plane at the Los Angeles International Airport, according to CBS Los Angeles.
The low-speed crash occurred when a passenger bus collided with an American Airlines plane on the taxiway. Four people were taken to the hospital and the only person on the plane – a worker – was treated but declined to go to the hospital.
CBS / ABC Flash Point News 2023.