A United flight from Maui to SFO crashed scarily towards the ocean shortly after takeoff – Orange County Register
By Gregory Wallace and David Williams
A United Airlines 777 departing Hawaii in December plummeted toward the ocean for 21 seconds shortly after takeoff, coming within 800 feet of sea level, flight tracking data shows.
Neither United nor the FAA said anyone was injured on United Flight 1722 on December 18.
The crash happened just over a minute after takeoff, data shows.
The plane lost more than half its altitude and came within 775 feet of sea level, according to FlightRadar24 data.
The plane picked up speed as it dropped 1,425 feet from 2,200 feet before resuming its climb from Kahului on the island of Maui.
“Felt like… a roller coaster ride”
Rod Williams II and his family were sitting near the rear of the plane when the Boeing 777 took a horrific crash shortly after takeoff from Hawaii’s Kahului Airport.
Williams told CNN that the plane appeared to be flying normally at first, but then he said the plane climbed at “worrying speed” for a few seconds.
“It felt like climbing to the top of a roller coaster. It was at that point,” Williams said. “There was a series of screams on the plane. Everyone knew something was unusual, or at least not normal.”
The plane then went into a “dramatic nose-down dive” for about eight to 10 seconds before climbing steeply again and resuming normal flight.
United said it conducted an investigation with the FAA and the pilots’ union “which ultimately resulted in the pilots receiving additional training,” adding that the investigation is ongoing.
The pilots have a total of 25,000 flight hours.
“United Airlines flight crew reported the incident as part of a voluntary FAA safety reporting program. The agency has reviewed the incident and taken appropriate action,” the FAA told CNN.
Though the weather is unclear at the exact time, the National Weather Service reported that the day set a daily record for rain in Kahului.
The incident, which is only now coming to light, was first reported by website Air Current.
“You’re just kinda clinging to the seat”
The experience was harrowing for the passengers.
“As the plane began to fall, several screams were emitted at that point,” Williams said. “You’re trying your best to keep your composure – obviously there are children on the plane – nobody really knows what’s going on, but at the same time you’re worried. They don’t know if this is a problem, but it was certainly unusual.”
Williams said he and his wife sat on either side of their children and looked at each other during the steep descent.
“It’s tense, you don’t really have the ability to speak or conjure words, you just hold on to the seat and pray quietly,” he said. “I asked her later and actually … we prayed for a miracle because we had a feeling it might be.”
Flight attendants comforted some passengers after the incident and about 10 minutes later there was an announcement over the loudspeaker.
“Someone from the cockpit went on the intercom and said, ‘Okay, guys, you probably felt some G’s on this one, but everything’s going to be fine. We’re going to be fine,'” Williams said.
Williams studied aviation in college, so he had a pretty good idea of what was happening, but his daughter, 10, and son, 7, had never flown before their trip to Hawaii, so they didn’t really know what was happening. They were scared, Williams said, but his son still wants him to play United by flying him on his shoulders.
The rest of the flight went smoothly, but Williams said there were strong crosswinds when they landed in San Francisco. They then took another flight home to Ohio.
Williams was unaware of how close the plane got to the water until his father showed him the report of the incident on Sunday night – eight weeks after the flight.
Williams said he was trying to focus on the wonderful memories they made of what he called a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and that he didn’t want his kids to be scared of flying so they could enjoy future trips can.
“Now that I know what happened statistically and that we were about 5-5.2 seconds from hitting the water, you know, I’m definitely counting my blessings,” he said. “I’m reminded that when my wife and I pray together before flights, that, you know, there’s a God in there.”
He said he was grateful for the pilots’ “amazing, amazing recovery efforts” and said they should be commended for it.
“You read about these things, but when you experience it, it’s just sobering, you know. I’m very grateful to be here today.”
https://www.ocregister.com/2023/02/13/a-united-flight-from-maui-to-sfo-made-a-scary-plunge-toward-the-ocean-shortly-after-takeoff-2/ A United flight from Maui to SFO crashed scarily towards the ocean shortly after takeoff – Orange County Register