Ditched 737 Broke Into Three Pieces


Based on underwater photos of the wreckage, the pilots of a first generation Boeing 737 that ditched off Hawaii a couple of weeks ago used up all their bad luck with the double engine failure that preceded the water landing. The 45-year-old 200-series aircraft broke into three main pieces before settling to the bottom in 350-400 feet of water about two miles offshore. The nose broke off just ahead of the main cabin and the right side crew door is still open. The tail also came off and one of the engines landed near the front section, according to photos released by the NTSB.

The flight data and cockpit voice recorders haven’t been recovered but the location of the main pieces will expedite that using remotely operated vehicles. The plane went down after one engine failed, followed by the second, which the crew reported was overheating on the way back to Honolulu. The plane actually changed course to a small airport that was marginally closer but hit the water two miles short. The pilots were found floating on wreckage by the Coast Guard within minutes of the ditching. One was taken to a hospital by helicopter and the other was rescued by boat. Both are apparently recovering and will be interviewed by the NTSB.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Surprised this article is even being posted, let alone authored by Russ Niles. I saw a reference to the “cockpit” voice recorder.

    • Well,
      a) the more enlightened nomenclature has not yet been established, so Russ’ usage is correct,
      b) your snark inclines one to note that there are many on this forum who have doctorates, yet only a very few feel it necessary to call attention to it.

      • He could have edited it out with flight deck recorder. It was not snarky, an observation-as I am truly surprised given his visceral reaction previously. No personal insults to him, unlike your remark to me. It is my name and I don’t hide behind anything less.