SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A United Airlines flight headed for San Francisco back in December took a plunge over the Pacific Ocean, and now the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident. KRON4 reached out to several passengers and they had differing reports on their flight experience.
On Dec. 18, 2022, a United flight left Hawaii during an intense storm. Quickly after its departure, the plane took a dive and reportedly came within 800 feet of the Pacific Ocean. The pilots were able to correct the flight after about 45 seconds. On Feb. 14, the NTSB announced their investigation after reports of the flight surfaced.
What did it feel like to drop so quickly? One report says the passengers experienced 2.7 times the force of gravity as the plane dropped.
Katya Gaidaeva was on United flight 1722 with her boyfriend, and she tells KRON4 that she was terrified during the dive. “The best analogy I can give for what that felt like is going skydiving,” she said. Gaidaeva says she couldn’t keep quiet during the fall, and that she wasn’t alone.
“I was screaming the loudest I have ever screamed during that fall…Passengers were screaming for about 20-30 seconds until we all felt like the plane stabilized and was no longer falling,” Gaidaeva said.
Ken Raymond and his wife were on the flight as well, and his memory differs. “It was alarming but we heard no one scream. There was no dramatic climb,” he told KRON4. Even though he says he didn’t hear screams, Raymond says he has never had an experience like that on a plane before.
Rod Williams was with his wife and two kids on a trip home from Maui when the flight took a dive. He was worried enough to turn to prayer, “When you’re in an airplane like that and it’s going down, you hold tight to your faith, you hold tight to the things you trust and believe in,” he said.
Williams recalls feeling the intensity of the g-forces during the dive, “I mean you felt the pressure strongly in your head,” he said.
KRON On is streaming now
After the fall, one of the pilots came over the announcement system and said, “Nothing to worry about ladies and gentlemen, it’s just a few g-forces,” according to Gaidaeva.
Gaidaeva tells KRON4 when she spoke to a flight attendant after the fall, the flight attendant also said they had never experienced a dive like that. She says she is thankful the NTSB is investigating the flight, “It is scary to me that I found out how close the plane was to crashing two months after the incident,” she said.