Apartments for dwarves

Following the Air France crash over (or rather ‘into’) the Atlantic Ocean a couple of weeks ago, a further incident involving an Airbus A330 has been reported – this time en route from Hong Kong to Perth.

Perth, Australia – A Qantas plane hit turbulence and suddenly lost altitude over Malaysia, throwing terrified passengers around the cabin and leaving seven people injured, the airline said on Monday.
The Airbus A330 with 219 passengers and crew aboard was flying from Hong Kong to the Australian west coast city of Perth overnight when it struck “severe turbulence” over Malaysian Borneo, Qantas said in a statement.

Passengers later described the panic and confusion in the darkened cabin as passengers not wearing seat belts were hurled from their seats.

“It appeared like we’d just dropped out of a 30-storey building,” uninjured passenger Keith Huxtable said. “It was dark … people screamed.”

Passenger Michelle Knight, also not hurt, said the crew told her the plane had plunged 30 metres.

Six passengers and a crew member were treated on board for minor injuries, Qantas corporate affairs manager David Epstein said. The captain reported minor damage inside the cabin, Epstein told Fairfax Radio.

Now, I sincerely hope that I am never involved in an incident such as this, but if I ever am, I would hope to get my thoughts together before speaking to the media once I’m back on terra firma. Because otherwise, I might say something silly.

Take Keith Huxtable, for example. Measurements alone are not enough for him to describe the bumpy ride. No. Keith has to illustrate the distances involved using tangible objects, so we can better appreciate the terror. But he does it very carefully to make it seem a whole lot worse than it actually was.
See how he says it was “like we’d just dropped out of a 30-storey building”? Well, maybe it was – but not from the 30th floor.

Sadly for Keith, the media also chatted to other passengers on board the aircraft and it’s blown his story wide open. 30 metres is about 10 storeys.  Either that or Keith builds apartment blocks for dwarves. Or maybe the bit of the plane that Keith was in fell three times further than all the other bits of the plane. Although that seems unlikely.

Either way – given that there will inevitably be a full-scale enquiry into any aircraft related incident, I think it’s best not to exaggerate, since the truth will out.

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