Five Terrifying Emergency Landings in 2017

The year came and went with no fatal commercial passenger jet crashes, an exceptional performance in an exceptionally safe industry. That didn’t mean passengers weren’t left holding their breath at times.

Commercial aviation remains the safest mode of transportation worldwide — by far. But any incidents involving emergency landings and commercial airplanes raise eyebrows.

Air France Airbus A380 Engine Breaks Apart Over Greenland

Imagine enjoying a blissful meal in business class, feeling a slight vibration and looking out your window to see this:

Be glad you weren’t on Air France Flight 66 this past year.

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Air France Flight 66 was en route from Paris to Los Angeles when passengers saw parts flying off of the number four engine, starboard side. Several passengers described the aircraft cavitating as the engine spun out of control. The flight made an emergency landing in Goose Bay, Ontario, Canada, stranding 497 passengers at an airport without sufficient immigration facilities.

The passengers had to overnight onboard the lame A380 until two 777s arrived to make the onward journey. And Air France’s A380s don’t even have flat beds in business class (shame, France, shame). Yikes.

Engine parts were later found scattered across a tundra in Greenland.

Delta A330 Engine Jets Flames Between Beijing and Detroit

Delta Flight 188 had just left Beijing Capital Airport when flames emerged from the Airbus A330’s starboard engine in April. Passengers told Chinese media they heard the engine backfire and felt the airplane destabilize momentarily. The plane returned  safely to Beijing and passengers continued on another aircraft 24 hours later.

United Flight Nearly Crash Lands After Losing Engine Over Costa Rica

An engine failure shortly after United Flight 1516 departed Liberia, Costa Rice for Houston almost ended poorly, according to a journalist onboard the airplane. Jody Genessey told People that one of the aircraft’s wings almost scraped the tarmac on landing. No one was injured, however, and the 737-800 aircraft suffered no further damage.

Passengers Claim Injury After Hawaiian Engine Failure

At least one passenger was checked into a hospital in July after Hawaiian Flight 177 lost part of an engine over the Pacific Ocean. The passenger told a Honolulu news outlet that he was hurt when parts of the aircraft’s cabin ceiling fell during violent shaking. The flight landed safely.

China Eastern A330 Lands With Hole in Engine

China Eastern Airlines Flight 736 made an emergency landing June 12 shortly after departing from Sydney en route to Shanghai. Passengers took photographs of a gaping hole in the side of the A330’s port engine.

AirAsia Indonesia Flight Plunges 20,000 Feet in Minutes

An AirAsia Indonesia flight suffered a rapid depressurization and descent over the Indian Ocean in October. The discount carrier blamed technical problems on the depressurization, the A330 did not suffer any physical damage as a result of the incident.

Passengers interviewed by local news outlet Perth Now later blamed the crew’s hysteria for the onboard panic.

Point Me To The Plane is wrapping up 2017 with a review of the most important stories in air travel. What do you think are the biggest trends of the past year? Share in the comments below.

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