Plane crash averted in U.S. as Australia bound flight hits vortex

It was a moment of praise in the United States and Australia as the pilot of a Qantas passenger plane QF94 regained control of his aircraft after it nosedived for about 10 seconds.
The dramatic ordeal which afflicted passengers on the flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne is understood to have been caused by the vortex, or “wake turbulence” caused by another aircraft which took off just two minutes earlier.
Hundreds of horrified travelers held hands ­believing they were about to die as the aircraft suddenly dropped over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.
QF94 passenger Janelle Wilson told The Australian that the “three-quarters-full” plane suddenly entered a “free fall nosedive, a direct decline towards the ocean” for about 10 seconds.
“It was between 1½ and two hours after we left LA and all of a sudden the plane went through a violent turbulence and then completely up-ended and we were nose-diving.
“We were all lifted from our seats immediately and we were in a free fall. It was that feeling like when you are at the top of a rollercoaster and you’ve just gone over the edge of the peak and you start heading down.
“It was an absolute sense of losing your stomach and that we were nosediving. The lady sitting next to me and I screamed and held hands and just waited but thought with absolute certainty that we were going to crash. It was terrifying,” Wilson said.
Thankfully nobody onboard the aircraft, with a seating capacity of 484, was injured.
The QF12 flight took off from Los Angeles at 11:27 p.m. Sunday night, 57 minutes behind schedule, while the QF94 service, which departed at 11:29 p.m., 49 minutes late, landed safely but 30 minutes late in Melbourne at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
According to flight safety experts at SKYbrary, wake vortexes cause severe turbulence, which is generated by the passage of another aircraft in flight.
Basically, there is not sufficient separation between the flights.
However, a Qantas spokeswoman told The Australian there had been no breach of separation standards because the two A380 aircraft were understood to be apart by 20 nautical miles and 1,000 feet in ­altitude.
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