Report: Co-pilot moved seat, sent jetliner plummeting
November 30th, 2010
03:31 PM ET

Report: Co-pilot moved seat, sent jetliner plummeting

The co-pilot of an Air India Express 737 sent the jetliner into a terrifying 7,000-foot plunge in May when he accidentally hit the control column while adjusting his seat, investigators report.

According to the report from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the co-pilot panicked and was unable to execute the proper procedures as the jetliner dropped from 37,000 feet at a 26-degree angle. The plane and its 113 passengers were saved when the pilot, who’d gone on a bathroom break, used an emergency code to get into the locked cockpit, jumped back into his seat and grabbed the controls to bring the plummeting plane out of its dive.

The aircraft would have broken apart if the descent had continued, the aviation agency report said. The aircraft was not damaged and no one was injured, the report said.

After the pilot, 39, regained control of the plane, he told passengers, who were in the middle of a meal when the jet plunged, that the plane had “went through an air pocket and that is why there was a rapid descent,” according to the report.

The aviation agency report concluded that the 25-year-old co-pilot had not been trained in the specific scenario the jet encountered and “probably had no clue to tackle this kind of emergency.”

Neither the pilot nor co-pilot were named in the report.

The Air India Express flight was en route from Dubai to Pune, India, on May 25 when the incident occurred.

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Filed under: Air travel • India • Plane emergency landing • Travel
soundoff (962 Responses)
  1. MSP

    Was it Apu from the quickee mart flying this thing? Note to self, India will not visited anytime soon by me. I can only imagine "ladies and gentlemen we just hit some slight turbulence, I have put the seatbelt sign on for now."

    December 1, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kevin

    Sounds to me like a suicide / mass murder attempt was averted

    December 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cleveland Steve

    So, we almost had a golden opportinity to lose a whole bunch of worthless vermin, but we missed it! Damn, damn, damn! Better luck next time.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. pooh

    Hit an "air pocket"? That's the best he could come up with? Really? tnx for the laughs!

    December 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mok

      What about this:
      "I was banging a stewardess and she slipped and threw the controls forward"
      That version wont be seen Id wager

      December 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. K ali

    This was no accident. Just a poorly thought out tribute to Leslie Nielsen.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wayne

    What a stupid thing to happen, Should have sent him in the full body scanner to see if he had a brain!

    December 1, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Greenspam

    I dunno. I play flight simulator and even I know how to deal with such a situation 🙂

    December 1, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ucster

    How many passengers riding on the outside of the plane fell off during the dive?

    December 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LSU Tiger

    Wrong diagnosis! It was obviously a defective Jeffries Tube in the Disgrontificator Assembly!

    December 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ben Dover

    Was he stupid? Or was he trying to crash the plane on purpose?

    December 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Troll2

    Americans are the only ones that matter – that is all
    Suck it

    December 1, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. maurpix


    December 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. pilot125

    This story is such bs, there is no way moving the seat would make you put enough force on the column to put the plane into that kind of dive, you would have to be pushing real hard on the yoke. Maybe its Air Egypt all over again, Capt gets up, Copilot puts the plane into the water. After he praised his god of course

    December 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gizzmoe

    wonder if the co pilot knew how to land the plane...wonder if he decided he didn't need those instructions in flight school...just sayin'

    December 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tawhid Rana

    Does not matter. It is assumable that the passengers were mostly the people who work hard for cheap in Dubai whose lives were already in Jeopardy and probably spent their last saved money to buy the ticket.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
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