A packed plane narrowly avoided disaster as it plummeted 1,000 feet towards the ocean.
Passengers onboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner “screamed in terror” and vomited during the incident, according to reports.
The Qatar Airways flight departed from Hamad International Airport in Doha at around 2 am on January 10, bound for Denmark.
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The flight only avoided disaster after the captain noticed his co-pilot’s blunder and pulled up.
Off-duty air traffic controller Lucas Andersson was on the flight with his wife and two sons when the plane dropped.
He told MailOnline: “After around 70 seconds into the flight and from out of nowhere there’s this loud sound as the plane goes from the pitch up to very much pitch down.”
He told how ‘people all around the cabin screamed’ and another person vomited from the sudden lurch downwards.
Despite being an experienced flyer, Lucas said the incident was terrifying as he thought they would crash.
Lucas continued: “But it sure crossed my mind … this is it, we are going down.
“Being in the aviation industry, I know how critical the departure phase is and descending with such a high rate at that altitude is never a good thing.
Passenger jet seconds from disaster after pilot error sends it plunging towards sea
"It was very scary. It was a feeling of the plane being thrown towards the ground."
Despite the pilots regaining control, Lucas says that the passengers were not given any explanation as to what caused it.
Lucas said: "Not a single word from the cockpit afterwards, so people confronted the flight attendants instead, who just said that everything was normal and we flew through some unexpected weather.
"Most likely they did not know what happened either and just tried to calm people down."
Qatar Airways said it has launched an investigation into the near-disaster.
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The junior pilot suffered from "lost situational awareness" in the darkness, resulting in a quick descent that "exceeded the flap speed limit".
They were just 850ft from the sea surface – around 17 seconds – when the captain spotted the error and took control.
Qatar Airways that the incident was reported to the authorities immediately.
It said: "Qatar Airways is aware of an event relating to flight QR161 operating from Doha to Copenhagen on January 10, 2023.
"It was immediately reported to authorities and an internal investigation is being carried out."
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