11 Hospitalized After Los Angeles-Bound Cathay Pacific Flight Aborted Takeoff At High Speed

Cathay Pacific flight 800 rejected takeoff at high speed from Hong Kong airport on Saturday morning. 11 people out of 293 passengers and 17 crew who had been headed to Los Angeles were hospitalized during the event.

The Boeing 777-300 slowed down on runway 7R and taxied back to the apron, but the event caused three tires to deflate. Crew evacuated everyone from the aircraft, and you can see passengers ignoring instructions not to take their belongings with them as they left the aircraft.

Pilots in the cockpit had identified a “signal anomaly” leading them to reject takeoff at a speed of 125 knots while “red hot brakes caused some small flames.”

Nine of the injured passengers were released from the hospital already, while two remain – an elderly male and female who both received leg injuries.

According to Cathay Pacific,

Cathay Pacific’s flight CX880 departed from Hong Kong to Los Angeles at 10:12 this morning, carrying 283 passengers.

Alternate arrangements have also been made for those with connecting flights to their destination. Nine of the eleven passengers who received treatment at hospitals have been discharged.

Our colleagues will continue to provide support to the two hospitalized passengers and their families. We sincerely apologise for the disruption to our customers’ journeys.

The occurrence aircraft has previously diverted, in 2015, to the Aleutians Islands and Shemya military airport.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This seemed to be looking for an excuse to use the slides. Was all of the cabin baggage returned to the passengers in a timely manner?

  2. We see carry-on bags in all manners of evacuations. It’s simply human nature in an event like this. There are people who post self-righteous comments about carry-on bags. It’s the commenters who demonstrate stupidity and ignorance of human behavior. Invariably, these commenters never propose a solution of what can be done to keep carry-on luggage behind.

    People who comment about carry-on bags are also the people who honk while stuck in gridlock traffic. No solution, no productivity, just whining.

  3. This also isn’t a case of OMG THE PLANE IS ON FIRE or OMG THE PLANE IS SINKING… people just need to get off the plane but there’s no urgency about it, so passengers don’t have the “it’s an emergency!” justification to leave their bags behind… until they see that an exist slide isn’t exactly conducive to taking a carry-on.

    Curious how many of the injuries were due to exit slide use.

  4. Unless there is ever a case of prosecution or other sort of consequence for people insisting on taking bags with them this will continue .

  5. Repeat: This was NOT a crash landing. Carry on luggage may have cash. Duh! Think sometime.

  6. “passengers ignoring instructions not to take their belongings with them as they left the aircraft.”

    Every flight, I look around me. Which of my fellow passengers are more like Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon and Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon, and which of my fellow passengers are more like Isidor and Ida Straus.

    Some people say, “turn left.” I wonder if I turned into the psych ward, on some flights, no matter what cabin. I don’t have an easy solution. No matter my many decades of flying, I just pay close attention to flight staff and emergency cards/video.

  7. Having been in the airline business for 20+ years, I marvel at the number of people who travel in shorts, pajama bottoms, flip-flops, etc. In case of an emergency evacuation or worse…a fire, these are the people that are gonna be injured. The slides are going to leave burns on exposed and skin that rubs as the passenger slides down. These are the folks that will be injured. Not that others who are dressed in long pants, closed toed shoes, etc. won’t be injured but the chances of evacuation and running away are much better.

  8. William B D wins low IQ comment of the day. His consolation prize is that the comment could have been even lower IQ. At a minimum he proposes a solution: fines as a deterrent.

    The problem is the rational mind is not active in situations like this. It’s the automatic mind. You bring your stuff with you.

    I can’t believe this simple fact of human psychoneurobiology escapes William B D.

  9. The whole point of cabin baggage is to keep the disorganized airline away from losing your bags. If they can’t even organize a take-off, what chance do you have of seeing your cabin bag again if you leave it on the aircraft?

  10. So the incident wasn’t emergent enough for them to stop where they were, but instead, they were able to taxi the plane back to the gate? And on top of that, they couldn’t deplane as normal, but instead had to deploy the slides while at the gate? I mean, it’s either an emergency or it’s not. This crew seemed to have wanted both.

  11. “Alison” wins troll of the year for comments.

    Your stuff isn’t worth my life. If you want it, sit down quietly and wait until people whose priority is survival deplane, then proceed.

    @William – Your intention is noble but it’s a lot more practical to have a lock on all overheads that will make it so that people have no choice. Otherwise you’ll get some self-entitled person who thinks their laptop bag is worth more than your life. The irony of that is that through their actions they’re proving that your laptop bag actually is worth more than their life.

  12. Here’s what should happen to stop people from retrieving their luggage during evacuations.
    1. Consider locking the overhead bins during taxi, takeoff, and landing.
    2. Announce in the pre-flight safety briefing, and prior to any emergency landing: “In the event of an evacuation, you must leave your carry-on luggage behind. Failure to follow these or other safety instructions may result in serious injury or permanent loss of eligibility to travel with us.”
    3. Give the policy teeth – issue instant permanent bans.

  13. Want to solve the problem of people taking carry-ons during evacuations like this? Ensure that we will get them back unlooted, or pay replacement cost of whatever we had in there.

  14. Loren has a point.

    I just have the word of warning if we are on the same evacuation event. You better not be slowing me down because you have a bag. I will crush you to get past you.

    The same human nature for wanting to take your bags with you will justify my human nature to eliminate the threat.

  15. If there wasn’t imminent danger to the pax, why were they not deplaned normally? Seems like a huge scary mess that didn’t need to happen. Forcing elderly people to jump out on a slide seems a bit much. Of course people are going to take their personal property with them if there’s no emergency. All this tough talk about risking lives is obviously immaterial if there’s no danger from the plane. Just take a breath, relax, wait for them to roll some stairs out there and deplane the pax with no drama. Looks like somebody made a dumb decision here; a crew member panicked.

  16. mark johnson the keyboard warrior?

    May he defend us all. Except he is too small and soft like his own johnson. It’s even spelled with lowercase!

  17. Since I was actually on that flight that night, I’ll provide some illumination, along with the videos I posted on my instagram this evening: https://www.instagram.com/logan.flatt/

    The pilot called for an evacuation only after we were back at the gate and a tire exploded. We had no way to know if a fire was imminent or not, so we evacuated to be on the safe side.

    As for carry-on luggage, yes, some less than smart people emotionally grabbed their bags and fled. They learned the hard way that the extra weight from the luggage makes them go down the emergency slide much faster than if they had left the luggage behind – I saw one man go flying off the slide and landing hard on the tarmac as a result. Undoubtedly, one of the injured.

    As for security of the carry-on luggage, we never worried about our cash, passports, and laptops/iPads we left behind. All are replaceable, whereas our lives are not. The Cathay Pacific crew were awesome and had all the carry-on luggage off the plane and in the terminal within an hour. It was simple enough to go search for our bags in the hallway and recover them with no fuss. All was as we had left them in haste.

    We are now safely back home in Texas and would happily fly CX again on our next trip to Asia.

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