United flight from Hawaii came within 775 feet of plunging into Pacific Ocean

A United Airlines flight dove 1,400 feet in under a minute shortly after taking off from Hawaii — and came within just 775 feet of the Pacific Ocean en route to San Francisco.

Flight 1722 took off from Kahului Airport in Maui at 2:49 p.m. Dec. 18 during stormy weather and reached an altitude of about 2,200 feet before taking the terrifying plunge, The Air Current reported, citing data from FlightRadar24.

No one was injured during the incident, which has not been previously reported.

The Boeing 777-200 reached a descent rate of almost 8,600 feet per minute before the crew regained control when the plane was a mere 775 feet above the water, according to the outlet.

During the climb, the passengers and crew were subjected to forces nearly 2.7 times the force of gravity before the plane reached its cruising altitude of 33,000 feet, two people familiar with the incident told The Air Current.

It was unclear if the stomach-churning incident was noticed by air-traffic controllers in Hawaii, according to the outlet, which reported that radio recordings obtained by LiveATC.net did not mention the dive.

Flight path.
The Boeing 777-200 reached a descent rate of almost 8,600 feet per minute before the crew regained control of the plane.

At the time of departure, the weather was rainy and a flash flood warning had been issued for Maui County.

The controller cleared the flight to its next navigation waypoint about 190 miles east of Maui shortly after it reached an altitude of about 3,000 feet, The Air Current reported.

The plane landed safely in San Francisco 27 minutes early after the four-hour, 15-minute flight, and departed for Chicago on its next flight about two and a half hours later.

United plane.
The plane came within just 775 feet of crashing into the Pacific Ocean.

“After landing at SFO, the pilots filed the appropriate safety report. United then closely coordinated with the FAA and ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) on an investigation that ultimately resulted in the pilots receiving additional training. Safety remains our highest priority,” United spokesperson Josh Freed told The Post on Monday.

“The pilots fully cooperated with the investigation and their training is ongoing,” he said.  

The two pilots had about 25,000 hours of combined flying time, Freed added.

The airline did not say how much of it was on the Boeing 777 and which of the two pilots was at the controls at the time of the incident.

United said it did not notify the National Transportation Safety Board about the incident because it did not consider it to have risen to the agency’s reporting criteria, The Air Current said.

Incidents involving injuries and damage to an aircraft are reported to the NTSB.

The airline also declined to say whether the flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder were analyzed.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilots notified the agency about the incident as part of its voluntary safety program.

“The agency reviewed the incident and took appropriate action,” an FAA rep told the outlet without elaborating.

OGG airport on Maui.
It was unclear if the stomach-churning incident was noticed by air-traffic controllers in Hawaii.

The incident occurred the same day 25 people were hurt aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu during severe turbulence near Maui, The Air Current reported.

On Jan. 10, a Qatar Airways Boeing 787 that took off from Doha entered a 3,000-foot-per-minute drop when the crew lost situational awareness during the climb, according to the report.

The pilots regained control when the plane dropped to within 800 feet above the water and the flight landed safely in Copenhagen.

Meanwhile, the NTSB is investigating two near misses.

View of the terminal at the Kahului Airport.
The plane was traveling from Kahului Airport in Maui to San Francisco.

The first was a Jan. 13 incident at JFK Airport in New York City, where an American Airlines Boeing 777 crossed the runway as a Delta Boeing 737 was taking off — bringing the two jets to within 1,400 feet of each other.

And on Feb. 4, a FedEx Boeing 767 overflew a Southwest Boeing 737 that was rolling down the runway at Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

The cargo flight aborted its landing but came within less than 100 feet of the airliner, officials said.

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