A Quantas Airbus A330-303 pitched downward twice in rapid succession, diving first 650 feet and then 400 feet, seriously injuring a flight attendant and 11 passengers. The cause was traced to errors in an on-board computer suspected to have been induced by cosmic rays. Modifications were undertaken to mitigate such errors – but in early 2012 Qantas Flight QF72 echoed the event.
A number of passengers were injured on Saturday 8 January 2012 when a Qantas Airbus A380 aircraft with flight number QF32 suffered an in-flight incident shortly before landing at Singapore when on route from London to Sydney. The incident echoes that of Qantas Flight QF72 where Stewarts Law LLP represented 175 passengers and crew who suffered injury as a result of 2 uncommanded pitch-down events on 7 October 2008 on board an Airbus A330.
An initial press release from Qantas has said that the incident was caused by severe turbulence stating that the flight had caught the initial part of a storm in Indian Airspace. Passengers have described the event as a terrifying ordeal and have reported that the “Fasten Seatbelts” sign had only been illuminated shortly before the incident took place which meant a number of passengers were not able to either fasten their seatbelts or return to their seats before the incident occurred. The difficulty in returning to seats was heightened by the fact that one set of toilets towards the front of the aircraft had malfunctioned meaning there were large numbers of passengers in long queues for toilets further back in the cabin.
It is understood that the Australian ATSB are going to be investigating this incident. Serious questions need to be answered about why the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign was illuminated so late and how much information the crew were fed about the storm, including its location and severity, by their in-flight instruments.
In a previous in-flight incident Stewarts Law LLP represented 175 passengers and crew who were injured onboard a Qantas Airbus A330-303 aircraft with flight number QF72. It is of note that the initial reports and statements into the Qantas Flight 72 incident blamed severe turbulence but, as identified in the Australia Government ATSB report released on 19 December 2011, the cause of the incident was a malfunctioning component coupled with a serious limitation of the flight control primary computer. This design flaw caused the aircraft to pitch-down twice which resulted in passengers being thrown around the cabin and as a result suffered injuries.
Stewarts Law are the leading European claimant aviation practice and are able to represent clients from all over the world. The firm is experienced and has been previously engaged in actions involving air accidents in the UK, US and Australia. The firm is at the initial stage of investigating the Qantas Flight 32 incident and any passengers or crew who may wish to discuss this incident can contact any member of the team or contact firstname.lastname@example.org in complete confidence.
Source: In-Flight Incident Causes Chaos on Qantas Flight 32, stewartslaw.com | January 11, 2012