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Passengers reveal details of horror Qantas fl -

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Passengers reveal details of horror Qantas flight

The World Today - Wednesday, 8 October , 2008 12:27:00

Reporter: David Weber

TANYA NOLAN: More terrifying details are being revealed of what occurred on board a Qantas plane
forced into an emergency landing in Western Australia yesterday.

Many of the passengers have been heaping praise on the pilot and the crew of the airbus that made a
forced landing in Exmouth, 1,200 kilometres north of Perth.

It's widely believed the aircraft suddenly lost altitude, forcing the plane to drop several
thousand feet in a matter of seconds.

But an inquiry is underway into the cause of the incident.

More than a dozen of the 300 passengers were injured; David Weber spoke with some of those
passengers.

MALE PASSENGER: Basically it seemed to hit a bit of hole and it went down, we all hit the ceiling
and all of our stuff was everywhere, all over the place, you know, it was just one of those things
that happened, you know there's not a lot you can do about it.

DAVID WEBER: We're you strapped in at the time?

MALE PASSENGER: I personally was, yes, but there were quite a few other people were as well, but
there were obviously people moving around the cabin and those people that were moving around the
cabin hit the ceiling and hit the floor and that was that.

Qantas have done very well by us; they've been very nice and very good about everything.

DAVID WEBER: Given the circumstances you're very happy with the treatment?

MALE PASSENGER: Without a doubt.

FEMALE PASSENGER: It was just horrendous, just horrendous, that's it, nothing else.

DAVID WEBER: Can you explain what happened?

FEMALE PASSENGER: Well I don't know, it just sort of, the plane just dropped and the inside of the
plane just looks like a complete wreck, like it's been in a plane crash.

DAVID WEBER: And you were strapped in?

FEMALE PASSENGER: Yeah, we were lucky we were strapped in, if you weren't strapped in people just
hit the roof and went, they were just being thrown all over the place.

DAVID WEBER: One of those who hit the ceiling was Malcolm Yeo.

When he arrived in Perth last night, he had an arm in a sling and a cut on his head.

MALCOLM YEO: Well I was in the tail when it hit so I then had to get up front where Shelley was and
it was a case of crawling over panels, most of the roof, much of the roof caved in there. Air frame
must've flexed enough to let a lot of it drop in.

DAVID WEBER: Mr Yeo said he was in the tail of the plane with Qantas staff members, and they were
all seriously injured.

MALCOLM YEO: And I'm the lucky one because there were four of us there and they've got broken limbs
and spinal injuries, and they spilt their wine. At least I didn't spill my wine! (Laughs).

DAVID WEBER: Mr Yeo said he hurt his arm when it was jammed in the ceiling, as the plane went down
the first time. He said he found himself weightless.

MALCOLM YEO: It was a real slam the first time we hit and then there was a second one and I found
myself actually in mid-air unable to drop to the floor and unable to go up to the ceiling.

DAVID WEBER: So you were almost, sort of weightless.

MALCOLM YEO: Weightless, no not almost! Absolutely.

When I recognized what had happened, that we'd hit clear air turbulence, then it was a case of
trying to find a safe spot to land on. What I didn't realize was the amount of demolition that had
gone on in the rest of the aircraft.

Although we had descended just slightly before that so I think the crew must've had a warning that
they were running into wind shear anyway. But I've never had a wind shear like that; to get slammed
by the roof of an aircraft is an experience I can do without again.

TANYA NOLAN: Qantas passenger Malcolm Yeo.