REPORT Southwest Boeing 737 MAX came within 400ft of crashing into the ocean in Hawaii

Sharad Ranabhat
2 Min Read
For illustration: Southwest Boeing 737 MAX-8 N8707P at Las Vegas - McCarran International Airport on 8 June 2021Credit: Tomás Del Coro

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX comes within 400 feet of slamming into the ocean off the coast of Hawaii following an aborted landing attempt due to bad weather conditions.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 with registration N8788L was flying from Honolulu (HNL) to Lihue, Hawaii (LIH) as flight WN2786. Due to bad weather conditions, the crew initiated a go-around maneuver at approximately 1,000 feet above ground level (AGL), as reported by the Aviation Herald.

However, the aircraft subsequently entered a rapid descent, dropping to a critically low altitude of 400 feet AGL before regaining control and climbing safely back to altitude.

According to an internal memo circulated within Southwest Airlines and data from ADS-B Exchange, the cause of the incident appears to be a pilot error. 

During the go-around maneuver, the First Officer, who was piloting the aircraft, inadvertently pushed the control column forward while monitoring engine power settings. This caused the plane to descend rapidly. 

Thankfully, the crew quickly recognized the situation and initiated a climb, successfully recovering from the descent.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently investigating the incident. Southwest Airlines has also addressed the issue through its internal Safety Management System (SMS).

This event highlights the importance of crew coordination and situational awareness during critical maneuvers, especially in challenging weather conditions. The quick response of the Southwest Airlines crew undoubtedly prevented a much more serious situation.

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