You may have heard in the news of the Qantas Airlines Jumbo jet with more than 360 passengers and crew that was forced to make an emergency landing in Manila, Philippines after a mid air explosion ripped a huge hole in the Boeing 747-400 aircraft’s fuselage.
Passengers described hearing a loud bang followed by a rush of wind and debris in the cabin. The plane had left Hong Kong about an hour earlier. Air safety officials say that the explosion occurred at an altitude of 29,000 feet leading to rapid decompression of the cabin. Oxygen masks were deployed and the passengers quickly put them on. The flight crew put the plane into an emergency descent dropping from the cruising altitude down to 10,000 feet where it was possible to breath normally. Terrified passengers believed they were about to crash into the sea until the plane leveled off and many wept or said prayers.
Safety examiners will now carry out painstaking investigations to try to discover what caused the damage to the fuselage, blowing out a hole the size of a family car. They will want to quickly rule out the possibility of a terror attack. For the moment they are fully aware that this could have been a far bigger incident.
The flight crew acted with impressive calmness and professionalism in recovering the situation and landing the plane safely in Manila. As it happens all those involved in the mid air drama walked away with nothing more serious than shock.
It is worth noting here what a local newspaper wrote: The number of people killed in Britain’s roads every year would fill six 747 Jumbo jets. Flying is still the safest mode of travel and Qantas has one of the best safety records around. Enjoy your holidays.