Emergency Landing Warning On Jet Was False Alarm

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Emergency Landing Warning On Jet Was False Alarm

Terrified passengers on board a Boeing 777 flight to London were told to brace themselves for an emergency landing after an electronic warning went off by mistake.

A technical hitch meant the 251 passengers on board the British Airways' Boston to London flight on Sunday were told to adopt emergency positions because the plane was about to ditch.

The captain of flight BA238 immediately rectified the error and left the cockpit to reassure passengers that the incident was a false alarm.

But for a few crucial seconds passengers were terrified as they heard the words: "Attention, attention. This is an emergency, I repeat this is an emergency. It may shortly be necessary to make an emergency landing on water."

Passengers were then told to find their life-jackets and adopt the emergency position ready for the emergency landing.

The flight had just taken off from Boston's Logan airport and had another six hours to go before landing at Heathrow at 8.30pm.

It is the third similar error to hit a British Airways flight in less than a year.

On this occasion, it appeared there was a technical hitch with the password-protected touch control panel hidden in the galley.

A BA spokeswoman said: "On Sunday the 251 passengers were offered a letter of apology when they arrived at Heathrow. We do realise how distressing it was for our customers and apologise to all of them."


-- Risteard Mac Thomais (uachtaran@ireland.com), March 15, 2000

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