Flight miracle plane disaster
/FAA

Flight miracle: How did a plane land without fuel or engines?

A flight miracle in 2001 shocked the world when a plane managed to land without fuel or engine power.

Air Transat Flight 236 took off from Toronto, bound for Lisbon on August 24, 2001.

Whilst over the Atlantic Ocean, a fuel leak occurred in the right side of the engine which drained it almost entirely.

Yet the flight still managed to land safely with no fatalities. So how did the pilots manage the amazing feat?

Flight miracle plane disasterFAA

Flight miracle: Passenger were evacuated within 90 seconds of landing

The plane was losing one gallon per second leading to a rise in oil pressure in the second engine

After noticing the unusual readings in the cockpit, Captain Robert Piche and First Officer Dirk DeJager transferred fuel from the left engine to the right, which due to a similar leak between the two, meant it was unable to transfer.

The plane was losing one gallon per second leading to a rise in oil pressure in the second engine. 

The second engine than flamed out due to having no fuel within it, closely followed by engine number one which was unable to pass its own fuel over, meaning the plane no longer had any engine power.

It then meant that they were forced to glide into landing, 100 miles from the airport.

Flight miracle plane disasterFAA

Flight miracle: The plane managed to land at 300mph

Passengers were warned to put on their lifejackets as a ditch on the sea was likely as the plane used updrafts in an attempt to make the landing.

Thankfully, both pilots then managed to land at a Portuguese air base on Terceira Island at roughly 300 miles an hour.

After landing, it bounced once and then landed again, despite the usual landing speed being 125mph. Due to the force of the landing and without any power, the speed blew out the tyres whilst the antilock breaks also failed.

Thankfully, all 291 passengers survived, but an investigation was launched to determine who was at fault.

Flight miracle plane disasterFAA

Flight miracle: Air Transat accepted responsibility for the accident.

Flight miracle plane disaster

Flight miracle: The pilots were labelled heroes after the landing, Robert Pich pictured

Air Transat was fined $250,000 (£143,439) and despite pilot error also being blamed due to the shifting of the fuel despite the leak, many labelled the pilots heroes.

Passenger Maria Cunha stated that whilst applauding after the landing, many people were sobbing in fear or too scared to leave the plane.

Captain Piché told reporters at the time, according to the New York Times: “When you don’t have that other engine, sooner or later you’re going to go down, you know.

“That’s just about it. You don’t have time to think about anything else than taking care of the safety of the passengers. You do as you’ve been taught.”

Source of Travel News

SIGNUP AND GET ACCESS TO EXCLUSIVE TRAVEL OFFERS!