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Boeing Plane Nearly Crashed After Wrong Button Pushed

By Prescott Carlson in News on Sep 29, 2011 7:20PM

Photo from Boeing website.
Chicago's Boeing Co. apparently forgot to tuck an owner's manual into the glove box of one of its jets.

An investigation by the Japan Transport Safety Board revealed a Boeing 737-700 plane nearly dive bombed and crashed earlier this month, simply because the co-pilot pressed a wrong button. The Wall Street Journal reports that the co-pilot was trying to release the cockpit door for the captain, who was returning from a potty break during the roughly 900 mile flight from Okinawa to Tokyo.

The JTSB said the button mishap caused the plane to tilt 130 degrees and dive over 1,900 meters during the span of 30 seconds, causing two flight attendants to be injured. Six of the 117 passengers on board reported air sickness or neck pains.

An All Nippon Airways spokesperson reportedly said the airline going forward will "take preventative measures to make sure that pilots do a double-check on where the controls are located as they leave and return to the cockpit."

The announcement of the near crash came immediately following the celebration of the first delivery of the long-awaited Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane, which will enter service on Oct. 26.

Besides facing numerous production delays, the Dreamliner also became embroiled in political gamesmanship, when Boeing announced it would be moving production of the plane from Everett, Washington, to right-to-work state South Carolina, ostensibly as payback to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, who have conducted several strikes against Boeing. The National Labor Relations Board is still in an ongoing dispute with the company to try and move production back to Washington.