Did the Prayers of Passengers Save This Jet?

By Mail Foreign Service

A single loose screw in a cockpit window heater caused this potentially fatal accident to happen on an American Airlines Boeing 757 – as it flew 36,000ft above the Atlantic Ocean. The flight crew were showered in glass after the heater caused an inside ply on the windscreen shattered into thousands of tiny cracks.

As the cockpit filled with smoke, the 2008 flight from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia was diverted to Palm Beach, Florida, as terrified passengers were instructed on procedures for a rough ground or ocean landing.

“I know this fear firsthand, having experienced an emergency in the air myself. It was a red-eye flight, and shortly after departing Sea-Tac airport, we noticed flames shooting out from the engine. Subsequently, the pilot announced there was an engine fire and he was dumping fuel in the event of an emergency landing. He said he was looking for the nearest available airport to land, hoping that he could make it back to Sea-Tac. The plane was full of mothers and children; my own infant daughter was with me. I hadn’t been a Christian for very long, but had just learned the importance and value of prayer. I never prayed so hard in my life! You could hear prayers erupting audibly throughout the entire plane and they continued until we landed, Thank God, safely again. Because of that experience, I believe even one praying Christian aboard an airplane that is in trouble can make a difference. ” : said Teresa Neumann, BCN.

Amazingly, U.S. flight safety officials have known about the fault for years but have npt required airlines to fix it.

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‘It was absolutely horrifying. There’s no other way to describe it,’ said Rebekah Conrad, 23, who was among two dozen students who held hands, sang hymns and prayed through the ordeal.

Pilots have complained about heaters that burned, smoldered or sent electric currents dancing across cockpit windows since at least 2002.

Safety investigators have traced the problem to a minor cause: a loose screw.

None of the reported incidents was deadly, but they were scary. Sometimes, flames would reappear after flight crews had blasted them with fire extinguishers.

Pilots reported having to remove their oxygen masks in smoky cockpits in order to reach circuit breakers or grab fire extinguishers.

The National Transportation Safety Board has prodded the Federal Aviation Administration to make airlines fix the problem, concerned that a major accident could happen if nothing is done. The FAA has yet to mandate the repairs, although it has promised the NTSB since 2004 that it would. Read more.

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