A Boeing 737 Just Crashed Off the Coast of Hawaii

It was forced to make an emergency water landing.
Brad Bergan
A Boeing 737 jet in flight.Bryan / Wikimedia

Among the aircraft in service today, Boeing's are not the luckiest.

A Boeing 737 cargo plane was forced to execute an emergency water landing off the coast of Hawaii after taking off from Honolulu, according to an initial report tweeted by CNBC. The crash happened just moments ago, at about 1:30 a.m. local time.

After takeoff, the plane was forced to turn back for the landing strip. And after hitting the water, both of the pilots were rescued, according to the FAA.  They were taken to a local hospital shortly after. 

Some bad years for Boeing

"The pilots had reported engine trouble and were attempting to return to Honolulu when they were forced to land the aircraft in the water," said the FAA in a CNBC report. "According to preliminary information, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued both crew members. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate."

This comes on the heels of two fatal incidents in a six-month span between 2018 and 2019, which were tied to the flight navigation system of Boeing's 737 MAX passenger aircraft. Notably, this latest incident is unrelated to the technical issues that caused the 737 MAX crashes, as it involves a 737 cargo model, which doesn't have the same engine and system design.

That said, it has been a hard few years for Boeing. The 2018 and 2019 accidents led to transportation authorities grounding the MAX planes globally. And in April, just when it seemed like things were ramping up again, Boeing was forced to halt some deliveries of its 737 MAX following reports of electrical issues, which grounded the planes once again.

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The planes are still grounded in some areas, such as India. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said he expected to meet officials' repair instructions "in relatively short order," but offered no concrete deadline, according to another CNBC report

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it would continue "to work closely with Boeing on this issue." On their official website, Boeing notes the current status, stating, "A number of global regulators joined the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in lifting the orders that suspended 737 operations for airlines under their jurisdictions. We continue to work with airlines and other regulators as they take action to return the airplane to service."

The cause of the crash

As discussed, the Boeing 737 cargo plane that went down off the coast of Hawaii was a different model than the 737 MAX, so there's no link between previous issues with the latter and Friday's incident with the former. Additionally, since no additional crewmembers or passengers were aboard, there were no fatalities from the incident, with the only casualties consisting of deliveries the plane may have been shipping.

That said, currently, we don't know what could have caused the engine trouble that brought the aircraft down. It could be anything from inherent flaws in the system, maintenance issues, or a simple fluke. 

The plane's call sign was Transair Flight 810. As of writing, information about the status of the plane remains unclear.

It's cliche to say that traveling or shipping by air is the safest way compared to driving, but it's still true.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis of 2020, planes worldwide were grounded due to national quarantines in the U.S. and abroad. A cessation of air travel on such a massive scale and scope hasn't happened since air travel became a common form of global transportation, so it's also not impossible that incidents like today are linked to the months of downtime for nearly every airline.

Even with a catastrophic failure in Boeing's 737 cargo plane, it's humbling to know that the U.S. Coast Guard was immediately on the scene and saved both pilots' lives.

This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.

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