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Old 24th Oct 2004, 01:23
  #12 (permalink)  

Just Binos
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Mackay, Australia
Age: 68
Posts: 1,397

Ahh, you people are spoiled! You think that piece was crap journalism? That is a well-reasoned and low key description of something pretty near the facts. You want to know what real crap journalism is? Try this, from the local paper in my small town. Front page of course, and the inevitable Seconds From Disaster headline accompanying!

............................................................ ....................PASSENGER TERROR

TWO passengers at the centre of a potential air disaster are outraged at the wall of silence surrounding the incident.
World travellers Ran and Robyn MacDonald were sitting in the sixth row of the Qantas Boeing 717 which almost landed on the Bruce Highway south of the City Gates on May 29.

They know it might have been only a matter of seconds between them surviving and disaster.

The plane was just 200 metres (600 feet) off the ground when it aborted the landing.

Mackay aviation experts said it was likely, from that altitude, the plane would have taken only about 60 seconds to land and would have been been travelling between 180kmh and 200kmh on touch down.

The couple has travelled the world for the past 30 years.

They compared the fear they felt during the ordeal to that experienced while on board an Egypt Air jet air bus which aborted a take-off at high speed and skidded down the runway.

"We went in for a normal descent, although the pilot seemed to be on and off the throttle quite a bit," Mrs MacDonald said.

We were heading down at probably a 45-degree angle (!!!!!!) and then we felt the plane start to ascend steeply. It pushed us back in our seats a bit but I was still looking out the window," Mrs MacDonald said.

"I heard the landing gear come down before the first attempt and the cabin crew was told to be seated and prepare for landing a couple of minutes before we made the ascent.

"There was a public announcement and some of the passengers were talking among themselves before that, but after the announcement it was silent."

Mr MacDonald said the plane then circled for about 30 minutes before a second attempt to land was made.

"We were just up there circling in zero visibility. There was nothing but cloud. It was a complete white-out.

"It was real white-knuckle and sweaty palms stuff for me, very worrying. When I got home I made a note of it in my diary: May 29, scary landing.

"I kept thinking there must be something very wrong with landing systems if it took the pilot half an hour to be able to attempt another landing."

The couple called for an urgent review of landing safety procedures and scolded authorities for failing to inform the public or the Mackay Port Authority of the incident.

"This is a matter of public safety," Mr MacDonald said.

"It shouldn't be hushed up. This should have been brought to light immediately and the problems addressed.

"Mackay Port Authority, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and QantasLink need to urgently review and upgrade their landing and safety protocols," he said.

End of article. (The exclamation marks were mine, of course!)

Thank your lucky stars you have the Times!
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