A Boeing 737 crashed near Hawaii on Friday, making it the second such incidence involving a older-gen 737 plane after a Sriwijaya Air passenger flight crashed off the coast of Indonesia, killing all 62 people aboard the 737-500. The crash, this time, involved a Boeing 737-200, which began its commercial operations in 1975 as a passenger jet for the Pacific Western Airline.
The flight, however, was a cargo plane operated as Transair Flight 810 heading from Honolulu to Maui with reported engine trouble and was trying to return to Honolulu, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
In the Transair’s incident, two pilots of the ill-fated flight told air traffic controllers that their engine had cut out and they needed help moments before crashing their cargo plane into the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii. “It doesn’t look good out here,” one of the pilots said before the Boeing 737 broke apart as it entered the water.
Both pilots, the only crew on the flight, were seriously injured but survived the crash. Rescuers found the two clinging to packages and parts of the plane in about 150 feet (46 meters) of water several miles off Oahu, authorities said.
“One was on the tail and the other clinging to packages,” Coast Guard Lt. Commander Karin Evelyn wrote in an email to The Associated Press. As an agency helicopter got close, “the airplane began to sink putting the individual on the tail in the water. The crews hoisted them safely on the aircraft. The rescue swimmer then assisted the other individual.”
“We’ve lost No. 1 engine, and we’re coming straight to the airport,” one of the pilots said in air traffic control communications. “We’re going to need the fire department. There’s a chance we’re going to lose the other engine, too, it’s running very hot. We’re very low on speed.”
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the matter and will send a team of 10 investigators. There are fewer than 60 737-200s still flying worldwide, according to aviation-data researcher Cirium, none of which is used for passenger flights.
The crash is a also a cause of concern for Boeing after two deadly crashes of the newer generation 737 MAX 8 jets, leading to grounding of all the planes of similar type for over 2 years now. Analysts are predicting that with two similar incidents involving older gen Boeing 737 could cause similar reaction from aviation industry, thought it’s just speculations.
Boeing has till now delivered more than 10,500 of these planes and has an unfilled orders for about 4,000 more, almost all of those for the latest version of the plane, the 737 Max.
As per Aviation Safety Network database, about 200 737s have been destroyed in crashes and several hundred others have been involved in less serious accidents and incidents. “For a jet that has been in production for so long and is being used so extensively, 203 hull-loss accidents can be considered a very good safety record,” said Harro Ranter, who runs the database.
Boeing said in a statement: “We are aware of the reports out of Honolulu, Hawaii and are closely monitoring the situation. We are in contact with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and are working to gather more information.”
The incidence is also drawing similarities with the famous 2009 crash of a US Airways flight in New York’s Hudson River where all 155 people on board survived, making Captain Sully a popular name among aviation industry.
With inputs from AP