Passenger jet narrowly misses volcano as another falls 13,000 feet after engines cut

Air France said it would be carrying out its own internal inquiry
Air France said it would be carrying out its own internal inquiry

French accident investigators have opened an inquiry into a near accident involving an Air France Boeing 777 which narrowly missed one of Africa’s highest volcanoes with 37 people on board.

An automatic “pull up” alarm went off when the plane, travelling from Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, to Douala, Cameroon’s largest city on 2 May, diverted from its normal route “to avoid storms”, the BEA accident investigators said.

That manoeuvre had put it on course to hit the 4,040m (13,255ft) Mount Cameroon before the alarm prompted the pilots to swiftly gain altitude and miss the mountain.

No one was injured and the plane continued its flight without further incident.

Air France confirmed the incident, saying that it would be carrying out its own internal inquiry.

“A route to avoid a storm brought the plane toward the side of Mount Cameroon,” it said in a statement.

The enhanced ground proximity warning system went off in the plane’s cockpit and “the pilots to respond immediately by executing the appropriate manoeuvre,” Air France added.

Elsewhere, a Singapore Airlines Airbus with 182 passengers and 12 crew on board lost power to both engines en route to Shanghai - falling 3,962m (13,000ft) - the airline said on Wednesday as it announced an investigation into the incident.

The Airbus A330-300 flight on 23 May “encountered bad weather at 39,000 feet (11.9 km) about three and a half hours after departure” from Singapore, the airline said in a statement.
“Both engines experienced a temporary loss of power and the pilots followed operational procedures to restore normal operation of the engines,” it said.
“The flight continued to Shanghai and touched down uneventfully at 10.56pm local time,” it said.
It added that the Airbus A330-300 plane’s two Rolls-Royce engines “were thoroughly inspected and tested upon arrival in Shanghai with no anomalies detected”.
“We are reviewing the incident with Rolls-Royce and Airbus,” Singapore Airlines said.
In a Twitter post late on Tuesday, Flightradar24 said the flight, codenamed SQ836, “lost power on both engines & 13,000 feet before power returned”.
In a subsequent post, it said the plane “lost both engines during the cruise” while flying through a “huge storm”, pinpointing an area in the South China Sea off China’s southern coast where the incident occurred.
Singapore Airlines, Asia’s third largest carrier by market value, currently has 29 Airbus A330-300s in its passenger fleet. It also has a fleet of 19 Airbus A380-800 superjumbos.

The airline, along with its subsidiaries SilkAir, Scoot, and Tiger Airways, flies to 119 destinations across 35 countries. Last week Airbus warned of a technical bug potentially affecting the engines of its A400M military planes that was discovered during an internal test after one crashed in Spain.