Another Poorly Reported Non-Story Appears in Daily Mail

A reader has shared a story found in the Daily Mail – a popular (unfortunately) UK newspaper. Any long term readers will already know my opinion of certain sections of the media when it comes to misreported and exaggerated stories contributing to the fear of flying of readers.

Firstly, read the ridiculous attempt at journalism by clicking here and then read my rewrite of the story below;

A Lufthansa Airbus 321 suffered an engine malfunction on Saturday shortly after takeoff from Helsinki. The engine was shut down by pilots who were following their well practised drill for this situation. Any fire would have been extinguished automatically.

The plane flew perfectly safely with one engine as all commercial aircraft can, but as a precaution the flight returned to Helsinki as per normal procedure.

The landing was completely normal.

Lufthansa Logo

Lufthansa

You see, my rewrite is boring and wouldn’t sell newspapers…. But, they are the facts. It appears that facts are so boring that the Daily Mail would rather make up utter rubbish to beef it up a little. The unfortunate thing is that some people who are not in the aviation industry will read this article and believe EVERY word.

Jet engines are incredibly well designed and rarely fail, but in the unlikely event they do, pilots have a checklist they follow. Any fire is extinguished automatically by the aircraft, and pilots will shut down the affected engine before landing the aircraft normally.

The article is not even newsworthy, and the only reason the story has been printed is a photographer was lucky enough to snap a photo of some flames coming from the engine (which would have lasted no more than a few seconds). The Daily Mail have got hold of the photo and then written a wholly inaccurate story to go with it.

Ignore the story, and avoid the Daily Mail at all costs as they are making a habit of printing complete trash. See this post by the Inflight Host for another example.

Comments

  1. Helen B says

    Hi

    Thanks for this story, it has helped my fear a little.

    I was on a flight back from Orlando in January and this exact incident happened. On take off, the engine failed and set on fire. Unfortunately, we were sitting on the wing. Personally didn’t see anything but as an already nervous flyer, the engine ‘cutting off’ really alarmed me, especially when the aircraft visibly lost altitude. (When I say we were flying lower than the building lights to warn air crafts of their height I’m not joking.) The plane suddenly banked right out to the ocean, presumably to lose fuel. The captain then said “All crew to the flight deck immediately” which didn’t help. I think a lot of people panicked at that point, myself included although from your comments above it is reassuring to know that is the correct and usual procedure for these incidents.

    All the crew were fantastic and explained everything that was going on. They explained that we would have to return to Orlando as a precaution. Is that true? I felt like they were indicating that the twin engined plane could fly across the Atlantic with one engine. Can it?

    We returned to Orlando and all the emergency services came out to the plane straight away. We spent about two hours in the middle of the runway as they established if the plane was safe to move from where it had literally stopped after braking from landing. It was ridiculously hot and we then had to be towed into the gate as the tires could burst due to the pressure from having no reverse thrust. We were all fine like I said and I do genuinely think the Captain and crew saved our life. But I could really really do with some help getting over it. Any tips?

    I would really like to know how often this happens, if you have ever experienced this? I have heard it happens a lot which doesn’t really help as I don’t think I could cope with that again. I was a minor nervous flyer before. We flew back to England the next day and I was in so much shock I don’t even remember that flight much, but I know it went fine. It was still terrifying and we were all just waiting to hear the sounds of the engine failing again.

    I’m planning on going back over in October to book my wedding. For finance reasons, I’m taking a less direct journey and that’s also not helping! I flew an awful lot before this happened and was quite used to it, even though I was a bit nervous each time. I sort of have OCD over it. If you could help at ALL I would really, really appreciate it, especially if you can recommend anything I try!

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