Aircraft Accident: The story of Aloha Flight 243 April 28, 1998, Miracle landing.


On April 28, 1988, Aloha Flight 243, a Boeing 737-200, experienced a catastrophic decompression in flight, resulting in the loss of a large portion of the fuselage and the death of one passenger. The incident is notable for several reasons, including the heroism of the flight crew and the extensive investigation that followed.

Aloha Flight 243 was a short-haul flight from Hilo to Honolulu, Hawaii, with a scheduled stop in Maui. The aircraft was carrying 90 passengers and crew, and was operated by Aloha Airlines, a regional carrier with a long history of operating in Hawaii.

As the aircraft was cruising at 24,000 feet, a section of the fuselage just forward of the wings suddenly ruptured, creating a hole approximately 18 feet long and 5 feet wide. The decompression caused an immediate loss of cabin pressure, and the force of the wind caused debris to fly around the cabin, injuring several passengers and crew members.

Despite the chaos, the flight crew remained calm and began to take actions to control the aircraft and protect the passengers. The captain, Robert Schornstheimer, immediately initiated an emergency descent and declared an emergency to air traffic control. The first officer, Dirk DeJong, took control of the aircraft while the captain went back to assess the damage and attempt to communicate with the cabin crew.

The cabin crew, led by flight attendant Michelle Honda, worked quickly to assess the extent of the damage and provide first aid to the injured passengers. One passenger, Clarabelle Lansing, was partially sucked out of the aircraft and died as a result of her injuries.

Despite the severity of the incident, the flight crew was able to safely land the damaged aircraft at Kahului Airport in Maui, with the assistance of air traffic control and emergency services on the ground.

The investigation into the accident revealed that the cause was fatigue cracking in the fuselage skin, which had been exacerbated by years of exposure to salt air and moisture. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued several recommendations as a result of the investigation, including new inspection and maintenance procedures for aging aircraft and improved training for flight crews.

The Aloha Flight 243 accident had a significant impact on the aviation industry, leading to increased scrutiny of aging aircraft and the development of new inspection and maintenance procedures. It also highlighted the importance of effective communication and teamwork among flight crews and the vital role played by cabin crew in ensuring the safety of passengers during an emergency.

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