A couple of weeks ago we came across a scary incident where Jet Airways flight 697 had to be landed on an emergency basis following a lapse from the crew members. The crew had forgotten to turn on the cabin pressure which would help the airborne people breath properly at high altitudes.
The incident had left many bleeding and nauseous. Though it is a major incident, we can call them lucky when compared to Boeing 737-300 of Helios Airlines from Cyprus.
The incident took place back in 2005. The flight inbound to Prague from Cyprus crashed into a hilly area killing all 121 people on board.
Here’s what happened: Moments after the take-off, the pilots contacted the ground engineers regarding some issue they were facing in the cockpit. The pilots and the company engineer of Helios Airways spent about 6 minutes discussing the issue before the latter lost communications from the pilots of Flight 522.
He then contacted Air Traffic Control center that was handling Flight 522. When that went in vain, nearly 20 attempts were made to contact the flight via different ATC centers over the next one hour. The strange fact was the radar indicated that the aircraft was flying its normal course.
The failed attempts to establish a communication with the cockpit led Greek Airforce to send two F-16 fighter jets to intercept the passenger plane mid-air. The F-16s intercepted the aircraft and a visual inspection revealed that the flight was on auto-pilot mode and all the passengers and the crew were unconscious with oxygen masks attached to their faces.
A post-crash investigation conducted by the Greek Transport Ministry revealed the pilots had forgotten to turn on the cabin pressure knob. The 59-year-old captain and his 51-year-old co-pilot had a flying experience of 16,900 hours and 7,500 respectively. But, that couldn’t save them from the unfortunate event.
The plane flew on autopilot mode for almost three hours before crashing into a hilly terrain as it lost an engine due to lack of fuel.
Here’s a video explanation (animated) of the incident.
Considering this incident, the crew and passengers of Jet Airways must thank their stars.