An Unplanned Descent

This post was prompted by the ‘100 Word Challenge’ here, which requires the
five words shown in bold print to be used along with 100 further words.

The view from the aeroplane portholes was magnificent – an intense blue sky, and below us, mountains and the ocean, aquamarine.

Then – a sudden silence…

The loudspeakers crackled into life.
“This is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped.”

Passengers looked at one another, aghast. The ocean seemed gradually closer – telling us that the crew had acted quickly to put the aircraft into a controlled descent.

Then, after fifteen minutes, came a roar as first one, then another engine restarted, closely followed by the other two.

 Never was that roar more welcome. Our captain deserved – and finally, got – an award.

This account is based on what actually happened to flight BA009
from Kuala Lumpur on the 24th of June, 1982.

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13 Responses to An Unplanned Descent

  1. Wow! Were you on that flight? I was once in an emergency landing – not fun but we did get put up in a fancy hotel in Milan for 24 hours curtesy of BA. Ugh you post brings back memories.

  2. fireflyphil says:

    Oh, no! I guess I sub-consciously kept in my head the brief from last week – to write in the first person, from someone else’s point of view!

  3. Sally-Jayne says:

    Wow – I was holding my breath reading this and silently cheered when the engines came back to life. I’m so glad I wasn’t on that plane.

  4. I thought this read particularly realistically. Coupled with the challenge of putting this into 100 words? Superb.

  5. This brought me out in goosebumps…what a nightmare. I was very relieved that it ended the way it did. The fact it is true makes it all the better.
    I know the statistics say it is the safest way to travel…but…
    Heart stopping stuff.

  6. A very scary situation! I’m so glad that everyone came out of it okay. You told it well.

  7. buddhafulkat says:

    Glad the engines came back on and everyone was okay!

  8. Mrs TeePot says:

    oh wow, I love that it’s based on a true story. And thank god the engines restarted.

  9. fireflyphil says:

    Many thanks to all of you for visiting and commenting. What actually happened was this; The plane flew through a cloud of fine volcanic ash, which was sucked into the engines, where it melted into a glass-like mess, stalling the engines. As they then cooled, this ‘goo’ solidified and became very brittle, then broke away in pieces, mercifully leaving the engines once again free to operate.

  10. Oh wowza’s!! I spend the whole time on a plane listening for the sound of the engines.. if it’s too quiet I freak out. This is difficult on a 12 hour flight 🙂 Well written!

  11. jfb57 says:

    Wow!History as well as great literature! Thanks for sharing that Phil. I can imagine the relief when the noise was heard. Brilliant!

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