The News

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

11 October 2008

Interview with a Passenger on the Qantas A330 Accident Flight of 7 October 2008

This show features an interview with Keesin Ng, a passengers on a Qantas A330 aircraft that experienced a violent in-flight upset during a flight from Singapore to Perth on 7 October 2008. About 75 passengers and crew members were injured during this event, with 14 hospitalized with serious injuries such as fractures and lacerations.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, or ATSB, is currently investigating this event, and because of the extent of the injuries on board, the ATSB has classified it as an accident. In a media briefing three days after the accident, the ATSB reported that the Qantas A330-300 aircraft was in level flight at 37,000 feet when the pilots received messages from their aircraft's monitoring system indicating some kind of control system problem.

The aircraft reportedly had a uncommanded climb of about 200 feet, followed by a return back to 37,000 feet. About a minute after returning to cruising altitude, the aircraft abruptly pitched nose-down, to a maximum angle of about 8.4 degrees, and descended about 650 feet in about 20 seconds, before returning to the cruising level.

About 70 seconds later, there was a further nose-down pitch, to a maximum pitch angle of about 3.5 degrees, and the aircraft descended about 400 feet in about 16 seconds. During the first pitch-down event, a number of passengers and crew members were thrown about the cabin, resulting in a range of injuries.

The crew declared an emergency and diverted to Learmonth, landing about 40 minutes after the start of the event.

The interview occurred three days after the event with passenger Keesin Ng, who provides additional details about the in-flight drama. You can hear that interview at the link below:

Interview with Keesin Ng (MP3)

For additional information, including's initial video and audio podcast about the accident and updates to the ATSB's accident investigation, visit


  1. I have been a passenger once in an aircraft that suffered turbulence as a result of a serious bad weather that resulted in our aircraft being diverted to the nearby airport. The same attitude of the customs and imigration personnel was not different from the one discribed here as i listenend to the passenger in this aircraft that was interviewed. My heart immediately went to all the passengers that suffered this ordeal of long waiting after their dramatic of experience of between life and death. This should attract the attention of the international world organization like the UNO to a rule that should be binding on all Nations of the world what the reactions of authority of any Nation that has to play host to an emergency passenger aircraft. Passengers in distress should not be treated as any other passengers passing through international boundaries. Unless you have been there ones, you cannot fully appreciate what these passengers must have gone through for the period of their ordeal mid air. I just hope someone will listen.


  2. The Qantas incident reminds me of an incident that I experienced on a flight from Newark to London I guess three years ago. The Boeing 777, another plane with fly by wire technology, started suddenly and vigorously to descend. It then went several times violently up and down which felt quite different from turbulence which I had experienced on previous flights. My colleague sitting besides me just murmured I should have never gone to this meeting. I heard that there was an injury of somebody in the economy cabin who was significantly injured.

    To Dr. Curtis' point, complacency in this matters, I heard never of any follow-up of this incident but the way the plane moved it looked like a technical problem nor like turbulence which I had experienced on many of my frequent flights.

    Dr. Heribert Staudinger