British Airways Flight 9
is also known as the Jakarta Incident.
A couple of weeks ago when commenting on the further woes of Adam Air
, I added a footnote from Son No.1
.Further Indonesian aviation news reaches the UK that a Singapore - Sydney BA flight had to make an emergency landing in Bali after smoke engulfed the flight cabin.
Problem was that apparently the BA crew had problems making the Balinese Air Traffic Control understand the meaning of the word ‘Mayday’.
I subsequently received an email from Ken S. in Oz who wrote: It may be coincidence, but there has been a program aired in Australia recently that covered the BA near disaster that occurred in the early 80's. This may be some slightly confused rehash of that.
And Son. No.1 responded thus: Nope, he’s referring to something very different and much more famous – as highlighted in this link the classic British understatement: which has been on a TV documentary recently. The one I highlighted would not be considered newsworthy, so you won’t find note of it outside the travel industry – it just seemed very apt at the time you were blogging.
We Brits are noted for our sang froid
and stiff upper lip. Imagine you are a passenger on Flight 9 on June 24th 1982, a British Airways flight en route to Auckland, New Zealand, from London. Somewhere over Indonesia, having taken off from K.L., you hear the following announcement: "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.
The reason for the engines failure was that the plane had flown into a cloud of dust and ash thrown up by the eruption of Mount Galunggung. The ash, being dry, did not show up on the weather radar, which is designed to pick up the drops of moisture that form clouds.The aircraft was diverted to Jakarta in the hope that enough engines could be restarted to land there, as it would first have to climb over the mountain. The aircraft was able to glide far enough to exit the ash cloud, and all of the engines were restarted (although one failed soon after as the aircraft climbed back into the cloud), allowing the aircraft to land safely.Although the airspace around Mount Galunggung was closed temporarily after the accident, it was re-opened days later. It was only after a Singapore Airlines 747 was forced to shut down three of its engines while flying through the same area nineteen days later, that Indonesian authorities closed the airspace permanently and re-routed airways to avoid the area, and a watch was set up to monitor clouds of ash.
Now you have something to ponder the next time you gaze at the many volcanoes you can see below as you fly from Jakarta to Bali on your budget airline.