16 Nov 2008

Naval base signals may have caused Qantas flight plunge

9:48 pm on 16 November 2008

Interference from a defence communications base may have caused a Qantas flight to plunge suddenly last month, injuring 44 passengers and crew.

A preliminary report into the incident by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau says it is possible that transmissions from the Harold E Holt naval communications station interfered with onboard aircraft systems.

It is also investigating the possibility that passengers' electronic devices aboard the aircraft caused the problem.

The incident occurred as a Qantas Airbus A330 was flying off the West Australian coast en route from Singapore to Perth.

Forty-four of the 313 people on board required hospital treatment after the aircraft suddenly plunged, hurling passengers around the cabin.