United Airlines 848: January 15th, 2001

On Monday January 15th, 2001 United flight UA848 left Melbourne bound for Los Angeles. Somewhere over the Pacific there was a minor problem - an electrical fault caused smoke in the cockpit, naturally causing the crew some concern. An official emergency was declared and the flight diverted to the nearest piece of land capable of landing a Boeing 747-400 (a commodity somewhat hard to come by in the south pacific). And thus it was we found ourselves landing on Pago Pago, part of American Samoa, around midnight - much to the surprise of the locals. Not unexpectedly, this wasn't the most wonderful turn of events for us passengers. It was hot, humid, and the island didn't have much in the way of hotel space (regardless of the claims made in at least one newspaper at the time). Most people found themselves sleeping on the concrete and grass areas around the small island airport, until a second 747-400 could be flow out from Honolulu to rescue us. In the end, we continued our journey almost a day later and arrived in Los Angeles via Honolulu on Tuesday morning, almost exactly 24 hours after our scheduled arrival time. On the day of departure from Pago Pago, I took some happy-snaps of the unusual sight before us - two 747-400s towering over a small airport.

Many people slept overnight around the airport itself due to lack of accomodations

The plane we arrived on, where we parked it the previous night :)

After we all sort-of sleep overnight, the replacement plane arrives with a new crew

Both planes parked side by side, an unusual event for a small pacific airport!

Another view of both planes - "No Smoking" indeed!

Close up of the second plane - finally reboarding

And getting the hell out of here.....

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Last updated 02/26/01