April 19, 2024

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The report says pilot seat movement was the focus of the investigation into the LATAM Boeing flight

The report says pilot seat movement was the focus of the investigation into the LATAM Boeing flight

(Reuters) – Aircraft seat movement is the main focus of an investigation into the sudden mid-air landing of a LATAM Airlines Boeing 787 that injured more than 50 people, industry magazine Air Current reported on Wednesday.

The plane, which was flying from Sydney to Auckland on Monday, suddenly fell before coming to rest, causing those on board to scatter around the cabin.

The report, citing a senior aviation safety official, said that based on available information, it was understood that the seat movement was “pilot-driven, not intentional.”

The newspaper said, quoting another anonymous source, who added that the possibility of an electrical short circuit was also being studied, adding that “the movement of the seat caused the nose of the plane to angle downward.”

Boeing is expected to issue a letter to 787 operators regarding the incident, Air Current reported, indicating there may be a fleet-wide issue although it said the specific issue was not known to the press.

Boeing declined to comment on the report and referred Reuters to investigating agencies.

Chile's aviation regulator, which is leading the investigation as it concerns a Chilean airline flying in international airspace, said the investigation had “just begun” and its investigators had arrived in New Zealand.

LATAM said it “continues to work in coordination with the authorities to support the investigation,” and said it was not appropriate to comment on the speculation that has been circulating.

LATAM is based in Chile, and the flight, carrying 263 passengers and nine crew members, was scheduled to continue to Santiago after a stop in Auckland.

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The reason for the apparent sudden change in the flight path has not yet been explained. Safety experts say most airplane accidents are caused by a combination of factors that need to be thoroughly investigated.

The New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission said on Tuesday that it had seized the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder for the flight, which would provide information about conversations between the pilots and the plane's movement.

(Reporting by Chandni Shah and Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Natalia Ramos in Santiago; Editing by Jamie Freed)