Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cathay Pacific pilot steer crippled Airbus A330 to safety

The Australian pilots of a Cathay Pacific flight who managed to steer an Airbus A330 to safety at Hong Kong's airport after both its engines malfunctioned, have been hailed as heroes by colleagues.

Cathay Pacific said in a statement the plane's left engine had shut down as the aircraft made its landing approach at Hong Kong's international airport yesterday with 309 passengers on a flight from Surabaya in Indonesia.

The right engine also began to "cut out inexplicably, leaving the [pilots] to cope with dips and surges in power and the prospect of the plane plunging into the sea short of [the airport]," the South China Morning Post reported.

The emergency landing caused all four tyres on the left side of the plane to deflate, while two on the right side also deflated, the airline said. Passengers were evacuated on emergency inflatable slides. There were eight injuries.

"It was an amazing piece of piloting in extremely testing circumstances," one colleague of the two Australian pilots was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying.

"One engine was shut down completely and the other was going on and of. They effectively landed the plane on half an engine."

The paper quoted another Cathay Pacific staff member as saying: "Their stories will come out in due course when the investigation is complete but what they did was nothing short of heroic. It's a miracle they managed to get the plane down safely."

Hong Kong's Civil Aviation department said it would investigate the "serious aircraft incident" and release a report in a month's time.

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