Wed, Oct 08, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Dozens injured by altitude shift during flight on Qantas


Up to 40 passengers and crew were injured, some suffering broken bones and cuts, when a Qantas jetliner suddenly changed altitude yesterday, Australian police and the airline said.

The Airbus A330-300 made an emergency landing at an airfield near the Western Australian town of Exmouth after making a mayday call when the mid-air drama struck during a flight from Singapore to Perth.

“A number of passengers and crew sustained injuries, including fractures and lacerations, on board QF72 this afternoon en route from Singapore to Perth following a sudden change in altitude,” the Australian flag carrier said.

Emergency services and medical staff were on standby at the Learmonth air base, which lies about 1,100km northeast of Perth, Sergeant Greg Lambert of the West Australian Police said.

“It is understood up to 40 people were injured during a mid-air incident,” he said.

“While cruising in level flight, the aircraft experienced a sudden in-flight upset, resulting in injuries to a number of cabin crew and passengers, primarily in the rear of the aircraft,” the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in a statement.

“The crew declared a mayday and diverted the aircraft to Learmonth ... where it landed without further incident,” the bureau said, adding that it was launching an immediate investigation.

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