Passengers Say Pilot Reported Computer Issue
ANN REALTIME UPDATE:
01.11.08 1145 EST: Was turbulence really to blame for an
incident onboard an Air Canada Airbus A319 Thursday? Early reports
indicated the aircraft hit a rough patch of air on its trip from
Victoria, BC to Toronto... but passengers say the pilot told them
of an additional problem once the aircraft came back under
"The pilot came on very shortly afterwards to say that the
computer was knocked out -- and I don't know if that was before
this happened or after -- and that they were on manual pilot, so he
was flying the plane and assured us that the plane was under their
control," said passenger Jayne Harvey to CTV.
The Transport Canada preliminary report also states the
possibility of an issue with the aircraft's flight management
system computer will be investigated:
ACA 190, an A319 with 88 people on board, was en route from
Victoria to Toronto when the crew advised ATC of an aircraft upset
that resulted in the aircraft doing a roll. The flight was in the
vicinity of ONSET intersection (Washington state) about 65 NM
southwest of Cranbrook when the crew informed Seattle Center that
they were having difficulty controlling the aircraft. It is not
known at this point if there was a flight management system problem
or whether this event was related to turbulence.
Vancouver ACC accepted control of the aircraft at 1450z. The
crew declared an emergency, requested diversion to Calgary
International Airport and requested medical assistance upon
arrival. ACA 190 landed about 30 minutes later at 1529z and stopped
on Runway 34 for visual inspection of the aircraft by airport
emergency response personnel. The crew then taxied off the runway
at 1533z. It was reported that there are some passengers with
serious injuries. Medical assistance was on standby upon arrival.
TSB Edmonton has sent two investigators to YYC.
Aviation expert Mark Miller told Canada AM of other possible
explanations -- that the aircraft may have encountered wake
turbulence from another aircraft, or experienced another
"It's interesting, I
talked to one of the investigators in the States yesterday, and one
of the things that they were checking was to see if there were any
airplanes traveling on that airway, on that air route that might
have been at a higher altitude and maybe a little ahead of this
airplane," Miller said. "...One of the other things they want to
investigate is whether or not there was some sort of mechanical or
sort of control surface malfunction. Did a flap on one side
accidentally or inexplicably deploy. Did something happen?"
It's evident that SOMETHING happened to ACA Flight 190...
causing the aircraft to drop 4,000 feet in a matter of
seconds, resulting in injuries to several passengers and crew
onboard and an emergency landing in Calgary. ANN will update this
story as more information becomes available.
An Air Canada Airbus A319 carrying 83 passengers and crew from
Victoria, British Columbia to Toronto, Ontario Thursday made an
emergency landing in Calgary, Alberta after encountering turbulence
that injured several people.
CTV News reports the plane landed safely at Calgary Airport
about 8:30 am local time. Four passengers were released from the
hospital, while six others -- four passengers and two crew members
-- were admitted to the hospital. All are expected to recover.
Passengers described being tossed around violently as the plane
dropped sharply, and rolled left and right. 50-year-old passenger
Pritam Sunter told CTV, "I felt like I was tossed around along the
window, back and forth, and it felt like the plane was going down
-- and I thought 'we're dying.' Nobody had a chance (to react), it
just happened too quickly."
Sunter said she wasn't wearing her seatbelt, because she had
just returned to her seat and was about to read a book. Her
husband, Amar, said the plane then suddenly "jerked to the left and
people were tossed about. Then it went to the right."
The couple said the pilots were able to bring the plane under
control, and announced on the intercom that the autopilot had
The plane was met by emergency crews when it landed at Calgary.
Stuart Brideaux of Calgary Emergency Medical Services told CTV,
"The City of Calgary Emergency Medical Services has transported a
total of six patients to area hospitals with stable but potentially
Dr. Rob Abernethy, the Calgary Health Region's executive medical
director, told reporters, "They are mostly muscular, skeletal
injuries that one would normally see if one was bounced around,
having falls, that type of thing."
Air Canada spokesman
Peter Fitzpatrick would not confirm reports that the injuries were
caused by flight turbulence, saying only, "It's going to take a bit
of time to determine exactly what happened, I would encourage
people to refrain from speculation. At this point we're dealing
with our passengers and our crew and their families to make sure
they're taken care of."
Two passengers, a man and a woman, told reporters they were in
the plane's first class section, and a friend with them was among
the injured. "It happened very fast," said the woman. "One side of
the plane just went up a little sideways and then it just sort of
went back down. Our friend was really hurt, so we really want to
get to her. ... She flew up and hit the ceiling and right back
The male passenger said he didn't know whether turbulence was to
blame, but the entire episode was brief. "We don't know, it was 15
seconds and then it was gone," he said.
Relatives concerned about the status of passengers on the flight
can call 1-800-961-7099 for more information.