PAL: Emergency landing of Manila-bound flight in LA airport to be probed
MANILA, Philippines — An investigation is underway on a Philippine Airlines (PAL) Manila-bound flight that circled back this morning and made an emergency landing at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) after suffering an engine failure shortly after takeoff.
PR flight 113 landed at 12 noon local time about 15 minutes after takeoff, PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said on Friday. The aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER, was carrying 342 passengers and 18 crew members.
“We affirm that safety is our top priority and that Philippine Airlines is fully cooperating with the concerned airport and aviation authorities,” Villaluna said.
PAL described the incident as a “technical problem” in one of the aircraft’s engines.
In an audio recording of the exchange between PR113 and local air traffic control, the pilot was heard declaring a “mayday” and described the problem as an “engine surge on the right engine.” The recording was uploaded on the twitter account of journalist Tom Podolec.
Video recordings uploaded by passengers from inside the aircraft and spectators on the ground showed flames and smoke shooting out of the plane’s right engine.
Modern aircraft are designed to fly using just a single-engine and pilots undergo training for precisely these types of scenarios twice a year, John Andrews, a former deputy director at the air safety regulator Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said on Friday.
“As long as the pilot doesn’t panic, they can handle that easily,” Andrews, also a former commercial pilot for PAL and Cebu Pacific, told the Inquirer in an interview.
Andrews, however, expressed concern on the landing weight of the aircraft, considering it was likely carrying a full load of fuel that would have been reduced when arriving after a long flight.
“There is a maximum takeoff and landing weight. They are never the same,” Andrews said.
He said in certain emergency cases, pilots would need to dump fuel at a designated area to reduce the weight of the aircraft. Landing beyond the maximum weight makes it riskier, he explained.
“They landed after 15 minutes so that’s not enough time to dump fuel. The investigators will be looking into this as well,” Andrews said.
PAL has yet to issue further details but it lauded the performance of the flight crew.
“We likewise recognize and appreciate the calm professionalism exhibited by our experienced flight and cabin crew, headed by Captain Triston Simeon and Purser Joanne Marie Dirige, in executing the unscheduled landing and taking care of our passengers,” Villaluna said.
She said assistance was being given to rebook affected passengers on alternate flights. Passengers were also provided meals and hotel accommodations.
Edited by MUF
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