Boeing cockpit seat switch mishap reportedly led to Latam flight incident

In World


Another Boeing jet is facing scrutiny after the planemaker reportedly told airlines to check the cockpit seats of 787 Dreamliners following a terrifying drop during a flight from Sydney to Auckland.

Dozens of people on Latam Airlines Flight 800 were said to have been hurt this week when the plane fell sharply, throwing passengers around the cabin.

Boeing has recommended that airlines inspect cockpit chairs of 787 jets for loose covers on switches, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported that unnamed US industry officials said the incident was the result of a mishap: a flight attendant serving a meal hit a switch on the pilot’s seat, pushing the pilot into the controls.

In a memo issued late on Thursday, seen by the newspaper, Boeing said that closing a spring-loaded seat back switch guard on to a loose rocker switch cap could “potentially jam the rocker switch, resulting in unintended seat movement”.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is already grappling with a safety crisis grappling with a safety crisis, after a cabin panel blowout during an Alaska Airlines flight of a brand-new 737 Max 9 jet in January.

Regulators grounded 171 Max 9 aircraft for several weeks, and are still inspecting the planemaker’s production line. Boeing’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, has acknowledged the company faces a “serious challenge” to win back the confidence of officials and airlines.

Earlier this week Boeing said it was “in contact” with Latam and “stands ready” to support an investigation into what happened. “We are thinking of the passengers and crew from Latam Airlines Flight 800, and we commend everyone involved in the response effort,” a spokesman said.

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Brian Jokat, a passenger, told CNN that he had woken up as the plane “dropped something to the effect of 500 feet instantly”. Upon landing, Jokat said the pilot told him that the gauges “went blank”, and that “for that brief moment he couldn’t control anything”, before the gauges returned and the flight continued as normal.



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