Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight #MH198 flying from Kuala Lumpur en route to Hyderabad, India, made a turn back, shortly after takeoff, according to reports. The plane landed safely at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.
MH198, a Boeing 738 plane, took off at 10:20pm last night but was forced to turn back shortly after its crew detected a problem. MAS themselves also attributed the cause for the turnback to a “technical problem” but they didn’t specify what. “The defect did not have any impact on the safety of the aircraft or passengers, however as a precautionary measure, the operating Captain decided to turn back,” MAS said.
MAS’ statement here:
Our Minister of Transport, Dato’ Seri Liow Tiong Lai has also responded to the matter.
He clarified via his Twitter account on the problems that MH198 were facing, which led it to its return to KLIA:
Problems on MH198 was both autopilots unserviceable with the flight to Hyderabad not suitable for manual flying, pilots decided to turn back
— Liow Tiong Lai (@liowtionglai) September 14, 2014
Initial reports suggested that the plane had to make an emergency landing due to “burning fuel”. Which quickly sparked rumours than the plane was on fire. However, the rumours weren’t true as “burning fuel” is simply a safety procedure where a plane manually consumes fuel in a case of emergency.
This is because if a flight takes off at the maximum takeoff weight and then faces a situation where it must return to the departure airport (due to certain mechanical problems, or a passenger medical problem for instance), there will not be time to consume the fuel meant for getting to the original destination, and the aircraft may exceed the maximum landing weight to land at the departure point. If an aircraft lands at more than its maximum allowable weight it might suffer structural damage, or even break apart on landing.
Hence, the circling around to burn fuel in order to lighten the plane’s load:
On top of that, a passenger who was on the #MH198 flight also tweeted the following to confirm that the plane was not “burning fuel” or “on fire”.
Rather, it was burning out fuel:
— Not Sana (@im_not_sana) September 13, 2014
That having said, we can understand why netizens immediately panicked upon the first report of the #MH198 emergency situation. But while this is cutting too close to the 2 other MAS air disasters, #MH370 and #MH17 that shook the world, it’s always advisable to keep calm, not jump into conclusions, refrain from spreading rumours, and await the official statement(s) from the necessary parties.
Good job, by the way, to the #MH198 pilot and crew for ensuring that the plane landed safely back at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Kudos to you guys!