Select Page

LATAM: 50 injured when flight ‘drops’ between Sydney and Auckland

LATAM: 50 injured when flight ‘drops’ between Sydney and Auckland

The pilot of a LATAM flight between Sydney and Auckland told passengers that the plane “dropped out of the sky. About two hours into the flight, all the cockpit gauges went blank. Fifty unsecured passengers and crew collided with the ceiling, damaging panels. Others dropped heavily, sustaining many minor injuries.

a seat and a television in a plane
LATAM 787 Business Class 2019 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

What happened

LATAM Flight LA800 from Sydney (SYD) to Auckland (AKL), operated by an eight-year-old Boeing 787-9 with registration code CC-BGG, suffered the incident on Monday (11 March 2024). The incident caused injuries to 50 of the passengers and crew out of 272 people on the flight. Passengers with medical training treated most injuries, which were minor cuts and abrasions, on board.

The aircraft recovered from the ‘drop’ and flew on, landing safely at Auckland Airport at 4:26 pm. Emergency staff met the flight and further assessed passengers.

Out of the 50 injured, 10 passengers and three crew members were sent to the hospital; four were Australians, most with minor to medium injuries.

A passenger reported that the pilot said ‘my gauges just blanked out, I lost all of my ability to fly the plane’ when asked about the incident.

Passengers have shared images of broken ceiling panels caused by the passengers colliding with the aircraft’s interior.

The incident resulted in the ongoing flight to Santiago, Chile, being cancelled. All passengers were accommodated at the airline’s expense.

a large white airplane at an airport
LATAM Aircraft at Santiago Airport, Chile, 2019 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

What caused the 50 injured?

Obviously, an investigation into the incident will take months, if not longer. In these incidents, patience is a virtue if you want to get to the bottom of an occurrence.

Current indications are that if the pilot’s claim that all the gauges went blank is correct, it was not a case of clear air or another form of severe turbulence. The sudden movement of the aircraft was caused by a ‘technical problem’ says the airline.

Commenters on social media are rampant with speculation, proposing it as a malfunction where ‘air brakes’ were mistakenly deployed or some new kind of Boeing software issue has been discovered.

The New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC, Te Kōmihana Tirotiro Aituā Waka), has yet to open an investigation. Chile’s General Directorate of Civil Aviation has appointed a representative to assist in any New Zealand-based investigation.

a large white airplane on a runway
LATAM 787-9 at Santiago Airport, 2019 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error, either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes of Boeing’s existing stack.

1 Comment

  1. AA56

    It is a very timely reminder, that when you’re not moving about the cabin and seated you need to have your seat belt fastened.
    It bewilders me why some passengers fail to heed the warning.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Previously . . .

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive regular updates about 2PAXfly.

Reviews, deals, offers, and most of all opinion will be in your inbox.

We won't spam you, and we won't share your details with others.

Newsletter Regularity

You have Successfully Subscribed!