Southwest Airlines Flight Comes Within 400 Feet of Ocean in Harrowing Incident

A recent incident involving a Southwest Airlines Co. passenger flight has raised concerns after the aircraft came within 400 feet of the ocean near Hawaii during a flight in April. The Boeing Co. 737 Max 8 jet experienced a sudden drop of over 4,000 feet per minute before the flight crew managed to avert a potential disaster by pulling up in time.

The flight, which departed from Honolulu, was forced to return to its origin airport after the harrowing experience. Fortunately, no injuries were reported from the incident. Following inquiries from Bloomberg, the US Federal Aviation Administration has initiated an investigation into the matter.

This undisclosed event adds to a series of safety incidents that have garnered public attention as airlines have increased their operations post-pandemic. Additionally, Southwest Airlines is facing mounting pressure from investors, including activist firm Elliott Investment Management, over concerns regarding the company’s financial performance and internal corporate practices.

In response to the incident, Southwest Airlines emphasized their commitment to safety, stating that safety remains a top priority for the airline. The company highlighted their Safety Management System and reiterated their dedication to continuous improvement.

Flight 2786 experienced a rapid descent from approximately 1,000 feet to just 400 feet above the ocean near Lihue Airport on Kauai, followed by a swift ascent. Aviation experts described the pilot’s actions during the incident as resembling a turbulent roller coaster ride.

The incident was attributed to adverse weather conditions that obstructed visibility of the runway during the landing attempt. Despite the weather forecasts, the captain assigned control to the less-experienced first officer for the short flight to Lihue, as indicated in the memo.

As the aviation industry continues to navigate challenges post-pandemic, incidents like these underscore the critical importance of safety protocols and pilot training in ensuring passenger well-being and operational excellence.


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