Passengers described the frightening moment when a vortex sent its flight from Qantas to a 10-second precipice.
Hundreds of horrified travelers held hands believing that they were about to die when the plane suddenly fell over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.
The harsh experience that afflicts passengers on QF94 from Los Angeles to Melbourne is considered to be caused by the vortex or "turbulent wake" caused by another plane that took off two minutes earlier.
QF94 passenger Janelle Wilson told The Australian that the "full three-quarters" plane suddenly entered a "freefall descent … a direct decline to the ocean" for about 10 seconds.
"It was between 1 ½ and two hours after we left LA and all of a sudden, the plane suffered a violent turbulence and then it was completely over and we were plummeting," Wilson told the newspaper yesterday.
"We all got up from our seats immediately and b were in free fall, it was like when you're on the top of a roller coaster and you just got to the edge of the top and started going down."
"It was a sensation Absolute loss of stomach and that we were in a dive. . The woman sitting next to me yelled and took my hand and just waited, but I thought with absolute certainty that we were going to crash. It was scary. "
Fortunately, no one aboard the plane, with a capacity for 484 people, was injured.
Flight QF12 took off from Los Angeles at 11:27 pm Sunday night, 57 minutes late. that the QF94 service, which departed at 11:29 p.m., 49 minutes late, landed safely but 30 minutes late in Melbourne at 8 am on Tuesday.
According to flight safety experts at SKYbrary, the vortices of wake causes severe turbulence, which is generated by the passage of another aircraft in flight Basically, there is not enough separation between flights.
However, a Qantas spokeswoman told The Australian that the standards had not been violated. separation because it was understood that the two A380 aircraft were separated by 20 nautical miles and 1,000 feet in height.
There have been several incidents of stellar vortices that cause serious injury and even death after the pilots have lost control of the aircraft.
"An encounter with a cross track en route probably leads to one or two" shakes "as the vortices cross," says the SKYbrary site. "In any case en route, can cause injuries to uninsured occupants, both passengers and cabin crew.
" Like most operators ensure that passengers are safe during the intermediate and final approach and during the initial ascent after of take-off, it is the cabin crew who will be at greater risk of injury if they are not yet secured during the last stages of an approach. "
In 1993, the crew of a domestic passenger charter flight in California did not leave enough separation between their aircraft and a Boeing 757 and lost control or their plane, which crashed killing all occupants and destroying the plane in the impact and later fire.
More recently, in 2008 an Air Canada Airbus A319 traveling over the northwestern area of the US aroused the turbulence of the vortex from a Boeing 747-400 en route.
Pilots they responded with potentially dangerous flight control entries, which caused disturbances in the trajectory of the aircraft.  Then followed an involuntary descent of 465 yards, because the cabin service was in progress and signs of road belts were left. security, the cabin service cars hit the roof of the cabin and several passengers were injured, some seriously.
The turbulence of awakening was also blamed r the stable of a Qantas 747 flight Since last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation of Aeronautical Accidents in Germany has requested an urgent revision of the aircraft separation standards after a nearby disaster when a private jet was hit by the wake of turbulence . of an Emirates A380 bound for Sydney over the Arabian Sea.
This story originally appeared on news.com.au.