SEATAC, Wash. - The same passengers that were stranded in Seattle after a Tokyo-bound United Dreamliner was diverted because of mechanical problems Tuesday experienced a different safety issue, on a different plane, as they were taking off Wednesday.
People on board the United flight to Tokyo said the Boeing 777 was accelerating down the runway for takeoff when they felt the pilot suddenly slam on the brakes.
After passengers felt the hard lunge, the pilot announced there was an oncoming plane in their way and he had to stop.
The FAA told KIRO 7 there was never a plane in the way on the United Airlines 777, as passengers were told.
Aviation sources tell KIRO 7, a pilot in a jump seat may have mistakenly heard the control tower giving permission to another aircraft to cross the runway—in front of the United 777, as it was taking off. In fact, a review of the control tower communications proves no aircraft was cleared to cross the runway in front of the 777.
One Alaska plane was given clearance to cross the runway behind the 777, posing no danger.
The plane returned to the gate for almost two hours before it was cleared to leave.
A passenger onboard the 777 who told KIRO 7 what happened was also on the diverted Dreamliner flight Tuesday and talked to KIRO 7 after the 787 turned around and landed at Sea-Tac.
“I was scared, but nobody panicked. Fortunately, the captain told us what it was,” said Prasanna Kumar.
Passengers took pictures of the massive fuel dump, and they were told the 787 would have to land in Seattle.
“Then we started dumping fuel, so that was interesting, and we had to dump a lot of fuel,” said passenger Guido Constantini.