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Military Plane Plunged 4,400ft When Pilot’s Nikon Got Stuck in the Controls

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The UK’s Ministry of Defense is being sued by eight soldiers who are suffering PTSD after a Royal Air Force pilot’s Nikon DSLR caused a Voyager transport plane carrying 198 soldiers ti plummet towards the sea.

The incident, which we originally reported on last year, is exactly as terrifying as it sounds. According to The Daily Mail, the aircraft was flying at 33,000 feet over the Black Sea on its way from the UK to Afghanistan when the captain’s Nikon camera became lodged between the armrest and the side stick control. The gaff immediately sent the Voyager plunging towards the sea at 15,800ft per minute, throwing crew and passengers against the roof of the cabin as the plane dropped 4,400ft in 27 seconds.

The co-pilot, outside the cockpit at the time, had to plant his feet against the roof of the cabin and “wrestle” his way back to the control room.

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A Military Aviation Authority report about the event said the pilot had taken 28 photos of the flight deck between eight and three minutes before the nosedive, placing his camera between the armrest and the controls when he was done. A few minutes later, when he moved his chair forward, the camera got stuck against the side stick and the plane plunged towards the sea.

Eight soldiers on the plane are now suing the Ministry of Defense for putting them in danger; three were medically discharged after the incident, and all suffer some level of Post Traumatic Stress after thinking they were being shot down over Afghanistan.

As for the pilot, he will appear before a court martial in February on perjury, making a false record, and negligently performing a duty.

(via The Daily Mail via DigitalRev)


Image credits: Airbus A330 Voyager by Alex Beltyukov; DSLR Photographs by Military Aviation Authority/Crown Copyright.

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