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28th of April 1988

At 13.25 local time, the Boeing 737 departs Hilo Airport, en route to Honolulu.

Earlier flight during the day were uneventful and smooth. Nothing hinted at the problems that lay ahead of the crew and passengers N73711.

The over 19 year old Boeing 737-297 climbed out without anything abnormal, everything was "by the book". As the aircraft levelled off at FL240 the sound of rushing air was heard by both pilots. The cockpit was filled with dust and parts of insulation. When the captain looked over his shoulder he didn't see the cockpit door, he saw clear blue skies......

The aircraft was slowly rolling left to right and the flight controls felt loose. The crew donned their oxygen masks while using hand signals for inter-crew communication the captain initiated an emergency descent. Speedbrakes were deployed and the aircraft descended fast. The crew actuated the Passenger Oxygen switch.


At the time of the decompression, all passengers had their seatbelts on, one of the flight attendants sadly was sucked out of the aircraft during the decompression. The other flight attendant all received injuries of varying degrees. At 13.58 the aircraft landed at Maui's Kahului airport. Out of the 95 occupants of the aircraft 94 survived, sadly one cabin crewmember lost her life. As a result of the incident aviation safety policies and procedures including maintenance were amended.

Click here to go to the full NTSB report on the incident, an interesting read!


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