Singapore Airlines plane survives 13,000ft plunge after engines fail

Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300 lost use of both engines at cruising altitude on Shanghai flight
AIRBUS A380-800 take offJOKER / Hady Khandani/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Bloomberg –A Singapore Airlines Ltd. plane temporarily lost power on both engines after experiencing bad weather at cruising altitude on a flight to Shanghai late last week.


The Airbus Group NV A330-300 aircraft was flying at 39,000 feet when it encountered rough weather about three and a half hours after departing Singapore on May 23, the carrier said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. SQ836, with 182 passengers and 12 crew, landed safely in Shanghai after the incident.


“The pilots followed operational procedures to restore normal operation of the engines,” Singapore Air said in the statement. “The engines were thoroughly inspected and tested upon arrival in Shanghai with no anomalies detected.”


When contacted by Bloomberg News, Singapore Air, engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, and the planemaker Airbus all said they are working to determine the cause of the incident.


The plane lost 13,000 feet before power returned, FlightRadar24, which tracks aircraft movement, said on its Twitter feed. A Singapore Air spokesman wouldn’t comment beyond the company statement.

While losing power on all engines at cruise altitude is rare, it has happened in the past.

All four engines of a British Airways-operated Boeing Co. 747 jumbo failed during a 1982 flight from London to Auckland, New Zealand. The aircraft flew into a cloud of volcanic ash, prompting the pilots to glide the plane down and restart the engines before landing at Jakarta airport.

In 2001, an Air Transat flight bound for Lisbon, Portugal from Toronto, lost all power while flying over the Atlantic Ocean. The Airbus A330 aircraft suffered a complete power loss because of a fuel leak. The plane eventually landed at Lajes Air Base in Portugal.

Flight safety across Asia is back in the spotlight after several high-profile plane crashes in the past 15 months. A Malaysia Airlines plane flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur in March 2014 lost contact with the ground and then switched off its transponder before flying miles away into the Indian Ocean off Australia’s coast. No debris from that flight MH370 has been found.

Late last year, an AirAsia Bhd. jet crashed in Indonesian waters after flying into a storm.

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