A San Francisco writer claims his United Airlines flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles almost collided with a US Airways plane, and now, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating to see if his account is true.
In an essay for Medium, Kevin Townsend writes of the terrifying experience that he says could easily have been the worst airplane disaster in history.
“I felt my body float upwards and strain against my seatbelt,” wrote Townsend. “Passengers around me screamed. There was a loud crash in the back — a coffeepot clattering to the floor and tumbling down the aisle.”
Townsend explained the situation to ABC News, describing how the flight went from good to bad so suddenly.
“I was flying from Kona on the western side of Big Island and connecting through LAX to go home to San Francisco,” said Townsend. “We climbed up, looped around the Big Island, and reached cruising altitude, and stayed there for 5 or 10 or even 15 minutes. All of a sudden out of nowhere, the plane cuts into a steep dive. It was like being on an elevator dropping really quickly. You start to fall with gravity, not like in a fighter jet pressed up against your seat. It was like being in freefall. It was kind of exhilarating, like you’re weightless. It was so sudden that it seemed like something had gone wrong, because you don’t expect that at all. But there was no sound involved and the plane didn’t seem to be out of control. It was tough to conceive of why it happened. Your body thinks, 'did the engines just go out and we’re diving into the ocean?' But then you feel like this is somewhat controlled.”
After the plane made the dive, the overwhelmed flight attendants got on the loud speaker to inform passengers that the pilot had taken extreme measures to avoid crashing into a flight that was in their path.
Townsend goes on to say that if the collision did happen, it would likely have been the worst crash in history.
“Had there been a collision, it would have been the new record, with an estimated 590 deaths, one of them mine,” wrote Townsend.
The FAA is now investigating the incident and trying to make sure that they take the proper precautions to avoid this type of situation in the future.