After the Boeing 777-200 they were flying plunged nearly 1,425 feet in a matter of seconds shortly after takeoff from Maui Airport late last year, the airline acknowledged that two United Airlines pilots were sent for additional training.
The Pacific Ocean was only 775 feet away from the San Francisco-bound aircraft, according to data discovered and initially reported by The Air Current. The plane was descending at a rate of more than 8,000 feet per minute at one point.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the airline both launched investigations after being informed right away of the worrying event. Although there was a lot of rain and low clouds in the area at the time, the reason for the incident has not yet been identified.
On December 18, at about 2:49 p.m., United Airlines flight UA1772 took off from Maui Airport and initially climbed to a height of 2,200 feet before abruptly plunging to the ocean.
However, information from Flight Radar 24 seems to indicate that the problem was resolved in less than 45 seconds, the plane rapidly recovered, climbed to a normal height, and made it safely to San Francisco.
There aren’t any eyewitness testimonies of the occurrence from flight passengers available to the public at this time.
A representative for the Chicago-based airline, however, confirmed the event and stated that both pilots had been sent for additional training in regard to what happened on December 18.
In a statement, the airline said it “closely coordinated” with the FAA and the ALPA pilots union on an investigation that “ultimately resulted in the pilots receiving additional training.”
United said, “safety remains our highest priority”.
The incident is strangely similar to an apparent near-miss that occurred last month when a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Qatar Airways launched into a steep dive immediately after departure from Doha Hamad International Airport.
According to information provided by Flight Radar 24, the aircraft in that incident descended at a rate of 3,000 feet per minute and came within 800 feet of the Persian Gulf.
However, according to reports, the pilots delayed reporting the incident, and an investigation wasn’t started until information about the terrifying near-miss surfaced.
Initial investigations indicate that the First Officer, who was in charge at the time, lost situational awareness, which led to the severe plunge. According to Qatar Airways, an investigation has already begun.