LATAM Airlines: Passengers remember the flight landing in the air


Chilean aviation authorities are heading to New Zealand to investigate a LATAM Airlines flight that went down in the air on Monday, with teams on the ground removing the plane's flight data recorders for analysis.

Several passengers described to CNN the terrifying flight from Australia to New Zealand, with the pilot telling those on board that he temporarily lost control of his Boeing 787 after one of its devices malfunctioned.

Passenger Brian Gukat told CNN that he was awakened from his sleep when the plane fell at an altitude of about 500 feet in an instant, and some passengers were “stuck on the roof” before they fell back to the ground.

After landing in Auckland, the pilot checked passengers and explained that he had temporarily lost control of the plane, saying, “My gauges kind of went blank.” According to Jokat.

Dozens were injured, with LATAM Airlines reporting that flight LA800 experienced a “technical event.” The airline told CNN that the affected passengers and crew “received immediate assistance and were evaluated or treated by medical staff at the airport as needed,” but did not provide further details.

It is the latest incident to occur Troubled aircraft manufacturer Boeing, Which has been rocked by years of quality and safety issues.

Chile's Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Tuesday that a team of Chilean aviation authorities was on its way to Auckland to investigate the incident.

The team consists of four members, who will be given the plane's flight recorders, known as black boxes, for analysis, the DGAC communications office told CNN. A technician from New Zealand will also join the investigation.

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New Zealand authorities said on Tuesday they were removing the plane's flight data recorders for analysis at Chile's request.

A group of passengers on the plane arrived in the Chilean capital, Santiago, on Tuesday, and Chile resident Veronica Martinez described the experience as “horrific.”

Everything was normal until the plane went down. [There were] “People fly – things fly,” she said, speaking from Santiago International Airport.

Martinez said she was not injured because she was wearing a seat belt, but she saw some people, including an infant, fly through the cabin. She described that moment as being on a “roller coaster.”

“For 3 or 4 seconds,” said another passenger, Diego Valenzuela, who also spoke to the media after leaving the airport on Tuesday. [it was] Free fall, and after that many people were injured.”

Martinez and Valenzuela said they felt comfortable being on Chilean soil.

Nearly 50 people were treated for injuries upon arrival in Auckland, including one person in serious condition, emergency medical services provider Hato Hon St. John told CNN.

The operator said that 12 patients were taken to hospitals.

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