2005-04-01 / Community

37 Injured As Taiwanese Airbus Hits Turbulence

By Howard Schwach

At least 37 passengers were injured, including four who are in serious conditions, when a Taiwanese Airbus A330-200 airliner with 251 passengers aboard experienced turbulence as it was landing at a Japanese airport on Tuesday.

According to sources in Japan, the plane was getting ready to land at Narita Airport outside of Tokyo and many of the passengers had unbuckled themselves to collect their overhead luggage when the plane began to swing wildly.

This upset is the second in a little under a month involving Airbus 300 Series aircraft.

On March 6, an Airbus A310 flying under charter for Canada’s Air Transat A310 from Cuba to Canada lost its rudder and had to turn back to Cuba. Because it retained its tail fin, pilots managed to control the plane enough to bring it in for a safe landing.

On November 12, 2001, another Airbus A300 Series aircraft. An A300-600, lost its entire tail and crashed into Belle Harbor, killing all 260 aboard the aircraft and five locals on the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a final report in the 2001 accident, in which an American Airlines passenger plane was involved, saying that the first officer, who was flying the departure from JFK Airport, over-aggressively and unnecessarily over-controlled the rudder, causing the tail to come off.

There had been a number of other “upsets” with Airbus A300 series aircraft prior to the Belle Harbor crash.

The National Safety Board of Canada, the agency investigating the recent A330 upset, told The Wave last week that the investigation could take up to two years to complete.

Some of their recent investigations, arguable more complex than this one, have lasted as much as four years.

“We have the U.S. Coast Guard looking for the tail in the coastal waters between Cuba and Florida,” a Canadian Safety Board spokesman said.

While the Japanese board responsible for airline accidents did not return The Wave’s email request for comment, experts in this country says that the Japanese agency works much like our NTSB and the Canadian board.

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