A Jet Airways passenger plane, operated out of India, took a bit of a plunge last Friday, without warning, putting the unsuspecting passengers at risk. The unexplained nosedive over Turkey is now being investigated by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, who has ordered a probe and suspended the pilots.
Writes the AFP via Yahoo News on Aug. 14: “India's civil aviation regulator said Thursday it has ordered Jet Airways to suspend two pilots after a flight from Mumbai to Brussels dived 5,000 feet, forcing air traffic controllers to issue an emergency warning.”
The Jet Airways Boeing 777-300 plunged 5,000 feet in a matter of a few minutes, taking the craft from 34,000 feet to 29,000 feet and putting the airline into a flight path occupied by another jet. According to media reports, the pilot was “taking a nap” when the plane when on its descent.
The co-pilot also was evidently not paying attention. Per the AFP, air traffic controllers stationed in Ankara “had to issue an emergency warning to the co-pilot on duty, who did not notice that the aircraft had lost altitude because she was using her tablet computer at the time.”
Both pilots were questioned by airline authorities, who said they will be conducting an audit of the situation to determine “whether there are any shortcomings.”
It's unclear whether the dive was pilot-induced or if the plane started its descent on its own. No passengers were injured.
Jet Airways issued a statement:
“Safety is of paramount importance to Jet Airways, as is also the welfare of our guests and crew and the airline will always take appropriate steps to ensure the same.”
AirSafe.com, which lists carrier information about plane crashes and security incidents, says Jet Airways has had no fatal passenger event since its inception in 1993. Meanwhile, AirlineRatings.com gives Jet Airways a “6” safety rating and a “6.5” product rating, out of seven, respectively.