Engines Fail on Approach to Hong Kong

Engines Fail on Approach to Hong Kong

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Seat belt, please. Thank you. NARRATOR: Cathay Pacific flight
780 is cruising at 38,000 feet over the South China Sea. [BELL RINGS] Captain Malcolm
Waters and his crew are nearing the end of a
four and half hour flight from Indonesia to Hong Kong. 165 miles from
Hong Kong Airport, the Airbus leaves
cruising altitude and begins its descent. And then something goes wrong. [BEEPING] The flight computer is alerting
the pilots to a problem. OK, let’s see what we’ve got. [BEEPING] Engine two stall. NARRATOR: The plane’s
monitoring system indicates there’s an issue
with the right engine, engine number two. [BEEPING STOPS] With no explanation
for the incident, Captain Waters reduces
power on the engine to idle to protect it from damage– MALCOLM WATERS: Idle. NARRATOR: –the lowest
possible power level while still keeping it running. [ENGINE SLOWS] The pilots prepare to land the
Airbus with only one engine. Everything is set for
an emergency landing– [BEEPING] –but then another alert
and more vibrations. Engine one stall. Engine one stall confirmed. NARRATOR: Things have
gone from bad to worse. [BEEPING] The monitoring system
indicates they’ve just lost the other engine, the
one they were counting on to get the plane to Hong Kong. The monitoring system
tells the pilots to put the malfunctioning
engine number one into idle. They’re a minute from touchdown. [ALARM SOUNDS] Then, another alert. It’s overspeed. NARRATOR: It’s an overspeed
warning, a signal the aircraft is flying too fast. Captain Waters
can’t figure it out. They should be slowing down. He rechecks the controls. Then he sees it. Engine number one, which he
throttled back minutes earlier, is still running at 74% power– high thrust– too
high to land safely. AIRCRAFT WARNING
SYSTEM: Too low. Terrain. Too low. Terrain. NARRATOR: Their speed is
over 100 miles per hour faster than normal,
so fast the flight computer doesn’t recognize that
the pilots are trying to land. AIRCRAFT WARNING
SYSTEM: Pull up. NARRATOR: Captain Waters
pushes the nose down, forcing the Airbus onto the runway. AIRCRAFT WARNING
SYSTEM: Terrain. Terrain. [LOUD CRASH] [SCREAMS] The Airbus is getting close
to the end of the runway. [ENGINES WHINING] Finally, the aircraft
comes to a halt just a short distance
from the water’s edge. They’ve used up more than
8,800 feet, over a mile and a half of runway. Once the aircraft did
stop, there’s a look of, what the hell just happened?

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