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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pushing Wrong Button Almost Causes Plane Crash

Because a co-pilot hit the wrong button, an All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft, carrying 117 passengers and crew, momentarily lost control and spun while dropping over the Pacific Ocean.

The aircraft bound for Tokyo flipped almost 140 degrees to the left after the co-pilot confused command switches while trying to unlock the cockpit cabin door for the captain who was returning from the lavatory.

Instead of the cockpit door, the co-pilot hit the button for rudder control causing the plane to almost flip over entirely as it dived 6,234 feet in 30 seconds following the error.

Two crew members suffered slight injuries and six passengers reported feeling unwell after the plane, which was traveling at a height of 41,000 feet before plummeting.

The mishap took place during a domestic Boeing 737-700 flight in September 2011as it traveled from Naha in southern Okinawa to Haneda airport in Tokyo, where it did indeed land safely.

There are apparently images privy to the aviation police captured from the flight recorder that show the extent of the aircraft's power dive.

"The images are incredible," a pilot tells Japan's NHK television network. "The plane found itself in an almost unimaginable position."

An investigation into the mishap has been launched by Japan's transport safety board while ANA also issued an apology to travelers.

"We are deeply sorry for causing anxiety to our passengers," offers a senior ANA official who did not mention anything about providing a free ticket to anywhere in the world as compensation.

The darkness outside the plane at the time of the incident is thought to have prevented many passengers – believed to have been fastened in seatbelts – from realizing that they were turned almost upside-down. With the plane upside down, I'm guessing the air masks didn't readily fall in front of the sleeping passengers.

The crux of the co-pilot’s error is believed to be caused by the close proximity of the cockpit door button and the rudder trim knob, which he pressed by mistake resulting in the plane’s plunge.

Four senior officials at ANA have been reprimanded by the airline with stern warnings as a result of the incident, which highlights the potential dangers of human error overriding technology.Really? What did these four senior officials do? The co-pilot screwed up... maybe the pilot too if he wasn't supposed the exit the cockpit at that time.

News of the incident coincided with ANA celebrating the arrival of the first in a forthcoming fleet of new long-awaited Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft following three years of delays.

In a separate blow to the airline, there was also an announcement that its pilots’ unions were threatening to go on strike this weekend, with negotiations continuing in order to avoid disruption to services.

Here's a video of this story: WATCH.