Pilot Lost Control of Boeing Jet Because Gauges “Went Blank," Causing Nosedive

Bottom of Everything

After a terrifying nosedive during a flight from Australia to New Zealand, a pilot admitted to a passenger that he'd lost control of the Boeing 787 due to the plane's instruments going "blank."

In an interview with CNN, media-savvy passenger Brian Jokat, who has also spoken to other news outlets about the terrifying mishap, said that he was jerked awake from his mid-flight nap when the Dreamliner he was aboard "dropped something to the effect of 500 feet instantly."

"That’s when I opened my eyes and there was various individuals at the top of the plane. Just stuck to the roof and then they fell to the floor," Jokat said. "And then I just realized I’m not in a movie, this is actually for real."

Eventually, the pilot steadied the plane, and when the passenger approached the pilot — whose name has not yet been published — he was shocked by what he was told.

"I immediately engaged with him," Jokat recounted, "and said, 'What was that?' And he openly admitted, he said, 'I lost control of the plane. My gauges just kind of went blank on me.'"

"He said for that brief moment he couldn’t control anything and that’s when the plane did what it did," the passenger continued. "Then he said the gauges came back and it reengaged."

Boeing Ballast

Operated by Chile's LATAM Airlines, the nosediving flight — which resulted in 50 injuries and 13 hospitalizations — is now subject to investigations by both Chilean and Kiwi authorities, the latter of whom plan to, according to Reuters, seize the plane's "black boxes" to figure out what happened.

News of this latest Boeing debacle comes amid massive scrutiny for the aircraft manufacturer.

The company not only faces both public and official scrutiny over its repeatedly malfunctioning planes — including the one whose door flew off mid-flight at the beginning of the year — but also is at the center of a controversy surrounding a former quality control employee who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound while giving testimony against the company.

The same day as the South Pacific nosedive situation this week, the New York Times revealed that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is auditing the company's 737 planes over a bevy of issues, including allegations that it used Dawn soap to lubricate its door seals. Yes, really.

That investigation is separate from the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation and preliminary report into a different 737 incident when the jet's rudder pedals appeared to be "stuck" during a landing at Newark Liberty International Airport, resulting in what was no doubt a rough arrival for those aboard the February 6 flight.

One thing's for sure: the hassle of flying is sounding more and more like a literal nightmare.

More on plane problems: Gaping Hole in Boeing 737 Linked to Stuffing More Passengers Into Flights