Published June 20, 2012
A JetBlue flight headed from Las Vegas to New York suffered a mechanical failure Sunday that sent the plane careening wildly through the skies for four hours, The New York Post reported.
"It was four hours of hell," Travis McGhie, a passenger told the paper. He said the plane lurched from side to side and took steep turns after its hydraulic system failed.
One of the pilots declared an emergency and radioed Las Vegas controllers that they were dealing with "quite a few things, but the initial thing is . . . we’ve lost two hydraulic systems," the Post reported.
The plane was loaded with five hours' worth of fuel and since the A320 is incapable of dumping excess fuel, the pilots circled the area south of the Vegas Strip until they’d burned enough to allow the crippled plane to land safely, the paper said. Some passengers reportedly “got a little freaked” and a few were vomiting.
John Ware, another passenger, told FoxNews.com in an email that the ordeal was the scariest moment of his life. He recalled the pilot screaming during the landing, “Brace, brace, brace!”
Ware turned to his wife and said I will love you forever.
An Airbus manual describes a double hydraulic failure as "improbable in operation."
Esser said an Airbus has enough backup systems that the passengers were not in serious danger.
"Even if everything failed, there would have been a way to manually land the aircraft," he said.
JetBlue confirmed the incident. The FAA is investigating.