A passenger who was onboard the United Airlines flight that plunged around 1500ft towards the sea shortly after takeoff has recounted the extraordinary experience that was similar to a “roller coaster” ride.
Rod Williams II was travelling on United Flight 1722 on 18 December with his wife and his children, who were flying for the very first time.
A realtor from Columbus, Ohio, who has studied aviation, Mr Willliams said he and his wife gripped their seats and prayed under their breath so as not to scare the children during the ordeal.
“We were praying for a miracle because we felt like this could be it,” he told CNN in an interview.
On Sunday, The Air Current revealed shocking details of an 18 December flight that went into a “dramatic, nose-down” dive, descending 1,425ft from an altitude of 2,200ft.
After coming within 775ft of the surface of the Pacific Ocean, the flight recovered altitude and rapidly ascended, going on to complete its journey.
The whole ordeal lasted just 45 seconds on a flight travelling from Maui to San Francisco.
Mr Williams said he initially thought it was normal turbulence but realised something was wrong when passengers’ screams filled the flight.
“It felt like you were climbing to the top of a roller coaster,” Mr Williams said.
He then started to realise that the plane was dipping at a “concerning rate” for a few seconds.
“It was at that point,” he said that people who initially tried to remain calm began to panic.
“There were a number of screams on the plane,” he said. “Everybody knew that something was out of the ordinary, or at least that this was not normal.”
But he continued to maintain his calm for the sake of his children and wife.
“You’re trying your best to maintain your composure – there’s obviously kids on the flight,” he said.
“Nobody really knows what’s going on. It was certainly out of the ordinary.”
“It’s tense, you don’t really have a chance to speak or to conjure up words, you’re just kind of gripping the seat and praying under your breath,” he added.
As the plane regained its normal trajectory flight attendants came back to comfort the panicked passengers, followed by an announcement that assured passengers that the incident had passed.
“Someone from the cockpit got on the intercom and said, ‘Alright, folks, you probably felt a…
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