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Flight Leaving L.A. Sent Into 10-Second Nosedive After Hitting Vortex

Reuters

Hundreds of passengers were sent into a panic as their plane went into a nosedive on Sunday, directly over the Pacific Ocean.

These horrified flyers were living in a nightmare as their Los Angeles to Melbourne flight got caught in what is known as a "vortex" or "wake turbulence," which is caused by going through the same area as another plane.

According to one of the passengers aboard the plane, it was sudden and unexpected. Janelle Wilson said the plane was "three-quarters full" and went into a "free-fall nosedive, a direct decline towards the ocean" for 10 seconds.

“It was between 1½ and two hours after we left LA and all of a sudden the plane went through a violent turbulence and then completely up-ended and we were nose­diving," Wilson said to an Australian newspaper.

Qantas airlines
Reuters

“We were all lifted from our seats immediately and we were in a free fall. It was that feeling like when you are at the top of a rollercoaster and you’ve just gone over the edge of the peak and you start heading down.

“It was an absolute sense of losing your stomach and that we were nosediving. The lady sitting next to me and I screamed and held hands and just waited but thought with absolute certainty that we were going to crash. It was terrifying.”

Surprisingly enough, there were no injuries reported after the incident.

Apparently, it is caused because there is not an adequate amount of space between the flights taking off and these wake vortexes are known to cause severe turbulence.

This isn't the first time that these extreme turbulence episodes have caused issues either. There have been times where the plane was not able to right its trajectory and on several occasions there have been injuries and even deaths.

However Qantas reports that they didn't violate the protocol in how far apart they were from the plane ahead of them.

Qantas airlines
REUTERS/Jason Reed/File photo

Qantas Fleet Safety Captain Debbie Slade released a statement about the incident.

"Unexpected turbulence is why we always recommend passengers keep their seat belt firmly fastened at all times just as pilots do in the flight deck."

"There are a lot of safeguards in place to reduce the likelihood of wake turbulence encounters, but it's hard to eliminate."

So while it's nice that this plane managed to right itself and land safely in their destination, it seems as though there needs to be some work on the protocols if it's still happening.

Hopefully the airline will be able to investigate this more thoroughly and find ways to prevent it from happening in the future.

Speaking as someone who gets nervous flying, I don't know that this really makes me feel better or not. I am glad to know that the plane managed to land without any injuries or issues, but it's still scary to know that this is even a possibility.

At least there are always tricks that us nervous flyers can use, like the handwriting trick or the straw trick.

And if that doesn't help, at least you can go in prepared, knowing all the things that your flight attendants knows.

Source - Fox News / Straits Times

Tanya has been writing for Shared for two years. She spends too much time thinking about dogs, Marvel movies, and ice cream. You can reach me at tanya@shared.com