Dozens Injured Onboard LATAM Flight Between Auckland and Sydney

by Anthony Losanno

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LATAM flight LA800 from Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) to Auckland Airport (AKL) encountered a technical issue this morning that injured over 50 passengers and sent 12 to the hospital. The Boeing 787-9 saw passengers thrown around the cabin and even hit the ceiling of the aircraft.

This route is a fifth freedom flight that continues onto Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL). Two hours into the three-hour flight, the incident occurred and passengers who were not wearing seatbelts fared the worst. There was no indication that this incident was about to happen and no turbulence reported.

LATAM has confirmed that the incident happened due to a “technical problem,” but has not elaborated further as to what might have caused the issue. One passenger, Brian Jokat, told Stuff about his ordeal onboard:

[Two hours into the three hour flight] all of a sudden the plane just dropped out of the sky. [Jokat woke to find his seatmate with] his back…on the ceiling and he’s up in the air and then he drops down and hits his head on the armrest. The whole plane is screaming. The plane then started taking a nose dive and I was just thinking ‘OK this is it, we’re done’. The ceiling’s broken from people’s heads and bodies hitting it. Basically neck braces were being put on people, guys’ heads were cut and they were bleeding. It was just crazy.”

He further recounted that a pilot told him: “my gauges just blanked out, I lost all of my ability to fly the plane.” An investigation will be conducted into what caused this issue.

Anthony’s Take: This is another example of why it’s important to always wear your seatbelt as you never know what’s coming next. I keep mine buckled and only take it off for trips to the lavatory. Good to hear that most passengers only sustained minor injuries.

(Featured Image Credit: LATAM.)

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