Sunday, December 07, 2014

Qantas flight QF2 makes rapid 'emergency descent' to Perth after plane fault

A passenger on board a Qantas flight from Dubai to Sydney has described how the plane was forced to make an "emergency descent" to Perth after a fault with the aircraft's air conditioning system.

Qantas flight QF2 was believed to be about 800 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia on Monday morning when the captain announced over the loudspeaker that he would be making a rapid descent, from 39,000 feet to about 9000 feet.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the captain made the "controlled descent", believed to have taken just a matter of minutes, as a precaution due to a problem with the plane's air conditioning system.

She said the plane diverted to Perth Airport, where it was given a "priority landing". It landed safely early on Monday morning.

One passenger, Nigel Richardson, tweeted that the cabin crew were running after the captain announced that they were about to make an emergency descent.

Mr.  Richardson praised the crew, who he said kept some nervous passengers informed about what was happening.

Although the captain announced that the plane was making an emergency descent, it's understood passengers were also told that the Airbus A380-800 was in full control.

Another passenger Anne, traveling from the United Kingdom, told Perth's Radio 6PR that the pilot's announcement was both alarming and reassuring. 

"It was quite frightening because at that moment we were over the sea," she said.

"I thought we were going to have a crash landing in the sea."

Engineers were due to examine the plane's air conditioning system in Perth on Monday morning, but the Qantas spokeswoman said the flight crew would have reached their maximum duty limits by that time.

Passengers would be offered overnight accommodation in Perth, she said.

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