Airline flubs mishap details
A Hawaiian Airlines flight was forced to return to Hilo Airport
HILO » When Hawaiian Airlines Flight 121 took off from Hilo for Honolulu on Friday morning, how much time passed before the bang?
Hilo resident Kris Laguire was a passenger on the flight when he heard the "loud bang," and other passengers saw black smoke come out of one engine.
They'd been in the air just 15 seconds, Laguire said. The Boeing 717-200 returned to Hilo Airport and landed safely with the remaining engine.
Laguire was surprised to read in the local paper the next day that the incident took place seven minutes into the flight.
Hawaiian Airlines spokes- man Patrick Dugan checked and rechecked, and company officials kept telling him, "seven minutes." But on his third try, the officials checked an electronic flight log and discovered the time was one minute.
A turbine blade broke, Dugan said. That resulted in overheating in the engine, and the pilot deliberately shut the engine down, he said. The technical staff at Hawaiian Airlines were insistent that a deliberate shutdown is not an engine failure, he said.
The passengers were transferred to another plane, and the first one received a replacement engine.
Back in Hilo, Laguire was still unhappy about the initial claim of seven minutes. "There should be no misleading the public in the first place," he said.
Dugan didn't know how the company claim of seven minutes originated.