Probe after Singapore Airlines SQ836 flight loses power in both engines at 39,000 feet over Hong Kong
A Singapore Airlines Airbus experienced a rapid descent after two of its engines failed. Photo: Danny Lee
A Singapore Airlines aircraft bound for Shanghai dropped 13,000 feet after losing power to both engines just outside of Hong Kong last Saturday, it has emerged.
The airline said it is probing the incident aboard flight SQ836, carrying 194 passengers and crew, with aircraft maker Airbus and its engine maker Rolls-Royce.
A spokesman stressed post-flight checks of the A330 plane in Shanghai revealed “no anomalies”.
The drama unfolded around three-and-a-half hours after the flight took off from Singapore when, over a period of 30 minutes, the plane experienced a rapid descent from around 39,000 feet as the first, then second engine failed. Pilots managed to skilfully regain full control of the plane at 26,000 feet as both Rolls Royce engines regained power.
An airline spokesman said: “Both engines experienced a temporary loss of power and the pilots followed operational procedures to restore normal operation of the engines when the pilots and plane first encountered bad weather at 39,000 feet.”
“The engines were thoroughly inspected and tested upon arrival in Shanghai with no anomalies detected. We are reviewing the incident with Rolls-Royce and Airbus.”
A spokesman for Singapore’s air safety regulator said: “The Air Accident Investigation Bureau of Singapore (AAIB) was informed of an engine incident on a Singapore Airlines aircraft while enroute from Singapore to Shanghai on 23 May 15. As the occurrence happened in international waters, the AAIB will be the authority for investigating this incident. The AAIB is in the midst of gathering information and flight data from the operator.”
According to the Planespotters.net flight database, the plane, registered 9V-SSF, was delivered less than two months ago on March 30, 2015.
Weather radar charts show the plane was heading into a powerful storm at the time, the same one that had caused chaos at Chek Lap Kok airport throughout the weekend. However, weather, mechanical and technical issues will be looked at to determine the cause of loss of both engines mid-flight.
The rate of descent will have been akin to an approach to landing for the passengers.
The flight continued to Shanghai and touched down uneventfully at 10:56pm.
Erin Atan, a spokeswoman for Rolls-Royce, said: “We are working with Singapore Airlines to provide support and technical assistance.”
In 2010, a Cathay Pacific A330 plane made an emergency landing after contaminated fuel rendered both engines useless – one losing power completely. A British Airways Boeing 777 from Beijing crash-landed at Heathrow in 2008 – investigations found ice crystals in the fuel tank. In both incidents, no fatalities were reported.
Airbus has been contacted for comment.
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 May, 2015, 11:51am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 May, 2015, 9:58pm