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jourdan747
Topic Author
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Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 1:18 pm

Delta Airlines jet bound for Japan is forced to overnight in Cold Bay

By Dan Joling
The Associated Press

(Published March 25, 2001)
Cold Bay's population nearly quadrupled Friday night when a Delta Airlines jet was forced to make an unscheduled landing in the Alaska Peninsula community 40 miles from the start of the Aleutian Islands.

Delta Flight 79, flying from Los Angeles to Tokyo, carried 220 passengers and an unknown number of crew members when it landed at Cold Bay, a wind-swept, treeless community on tundra 625 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Nearly all of the 65 residents pitched in to find passengers transportation and sleeping accommodations while their aircraft was repaired. Residents opened their school, collected mattresses, blankets and sleeping bags from around town, and rolled out wrestling mats as makeshift beds for passengers who could not find room at the community's two tiny hotels or at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service housing.

"We rounded up all the spare bedding and mattresses that were in the community," said electric utility owner Gary Ferguson. "It was an experience."

Community members provided rice, canned salmon, biscuits and bacon for breakfast Saturday morning before passengers departed.

Delta spokeswoman Tracey Bowen said crew members made the unscheduled landing after they smelled smoke in the cabin.

Delta flew in mechanics Friday night and repaired a shorted-out ventilation motor, Ferguson said.

Emergency medical technician Eric Skansgaard said Cold Bay authorities received word of the incoming aircraft about 4:45 p.m. Friday and were on the tarmac waiting when the MD-11 jet landed about an hour later.

Cold Bay was built up as a key World War II staging area and once had a military population of 30,000. The state continues to maintain its 10,000-foot runway, Alaska's third largest.

Cold Bay's population was recorded at 102 in December, but a downturn in fishing and the departure of an airline serving the community have dropped the population about 40 percent, Skansgaard said.

Ferguson said Cold Bay's runway is an alternative landing site for the space shuttle and it gets at least one emergency aircraft landing a year, usually a cargo jet.

"We all were aware because of our location and the size of our airfield that this could happen," Ferguson said of the passenger jet landing. "This is the first time we've had one that was loaded with people."

Skansgaard said the jet stayed parked for nearly three hours before passengers disembarked into temperatures in the teens and winds of 30 to 35 mph.

"We have very possibly the worst weather environment on the planet," Skansgaard said. "We say, 'Even the mud puddles have whitecaps if they don't up and blow away.' "

A caravan of public and private vehicles ferried passengers to two hotels, Cold Bay Lodge and the Weathered Inn. Each normally holds up to 20 guests but took 40 Friday night. Another group stayed in Fish and Wildlife Service housing. The rest of the mostly Japanese passengers spent the night at Cold Bay School.

Skansgaard said passengers stayed up as late as 2:30 a.m. using the school's phone and Internet lines to send messages.

On Saturday morning, Cold Bay Lodge baked about 500 biscuits plus bacon and sausage for passengers. The school has no cooking facilities, so community members improvised for the rest of the breakfast.

"All the women in the community brought their rice cookers," Skansgaard said, and people pitched in with home-canned salmon.

Passengers reboarded about 9:30 a.m., he said, and the plane departed for Anchorage an hour later. The jet left Saturday afternoon for Tokyo.
 
jourdan747
Topic Author
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 1:30 pm

What an experience being a passenger on that flight must of been,right?
 
PVDtoGO
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 1:32 pm

I hope Delta does something kind in return for the community. It seems like a lot of folks helped out there.
 
jourdan747
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 1:37 pm

I agree 100% percent.....not to mention the price of food is extremely expensive in Cold Bay since it's such a rural place...it's nice to hear how they helped the passengers....

Another thing is that I could only imagine what residents of Tokyo thought coming from one of the worlds most crowded cities to one of the worlds most small and rural communites....
 
B747
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 1:40 pm

What is up with DL Md-11's? Have you noticed that everytime you hear of an MD-11 incedent, it involves Delta. I am in no way bashing Delta, I myself have flown DL Md-11's across the Pacific on several occasions. I love the 11's but here lately there have been a rash of problems, usually engine related.
Brian
At Pope, where not happy, until you're not happy!
 
MAC_Veteran
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 1:49 pm

I've got to think it must have been a bit of a comedic moment there in Cold Bay..the airport manager getting on the phone to the mayor and explaining what was about to happen. The collective "Oh SH*T!" being muttered afterwards, I'd have paid to see that. (G)

Thanks for posting that. This also opens up discussion on the issue of diversions to airports in remote areas like the far frontiers of Alaska and the Kamchatka peninsula. The preparedness for handling people on the ground is an issue that is quite real and bears quite a lot of merit worth exploring. Cold Bay isnt equipped in infrastructure to handle large planeloads of passengers as say a Reykjavik, Keflavik or Anchorage would be. Thank God there was access to -some- food, some shelter, and that there were no medical emergencies or much worse weather conditions at the time.

Regards
MAC
 
Cleco
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 1:58 pm

They ate all their food, wasn't there anything left on the plane?

Jake
EMBRY-RIDDLE BABY
 
desertjets
Posts: 7693
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 2:05 pm

Really a lot of thanks has to go out to the citizens of Cold Bay for helping out. This story should be a reminder to those folks who say they will never fly a twin over the ocean.

The real issue here is that these remote airfields are not really equipped to handle 200+ people. At least there were not any medical emergencies and the weather is somewhat better during this time of year at those latitudes. But imagine that this had been in the dead of winter and there were injuries. You literally are stranded in the middle of nowhere very dependent on others being able to help out. My question is could this plane not have diverted back to Anchorage or headed further on east to the next diversion airport that might have been better equipped.

Cold Bay must be one of the most isolated and smallest, population wise, of the north pacific diversion airports.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
ILOVEA340
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 2:12 pm

Damn I wish somethinglike that would happen to me. I have flown well over 50 times (yes I know for a lot of you that is nothing) and never even got into anything more than minor turbulence.
 
PW4084
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 2:28 pm

I think in light of the Swissair MD-11 accident and the ValuJet accident of 1996, any kind of smoke/fire situations are treated with a great sense of urgency. It'd be interesting to know the specifics of the incident...I also agree that the folks of Cold Bay really came through for Delta and their customers.


regarding the diversion airport issue:
Another example of this type of problem is the China Eastern MD-11 that found itself in Shemya, AK in 1993.
http://www.ntsb.gov/NTSB/brief.asp?ev_id=20001211X12107&key=1
I'd much rather be in Cold Bay than Shemya. As our airplanes take on more ambitious routes and as the skies become more crowded, there will be more diversions. Imagine an A-380 making an un-scheduled landing at Petropavlosk with 555 passengers in the dead of winter. It has four engines but many other factors can force an airplane to find a landing spot.

As MAC_Veteran said, it opens up the discussion of these issues.....


 
MAC_Veteran
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RE: CleCo

Mon Mar 26, 2001 2:29 pm

Hey Jake

"They ate all their food, wasn't there anything left on the plane?"

Remember, we're talking about DELTA here (G). As in -Not exactly tops in the onboard catering budget department- (G). Perhaps all they had served on this was a "SkySushi" Deli Bag on their Trans Pacific jaunt. I couldnt resist that. (G)

But you bring up a -very- valid point, if this was a fully catered international flight, as it likely was (earlier comment skewering Delta's cheapskate catering "habit" aside (G), there should have been a full meal and a breakfast service catered on the flight.

Where did all that food go? In the trash?

Regards
MAC
 
MAC_Veteran
Posts: 702
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RE: PW4084

Mon Mar 26, 2001 2:38 pm

Only one problem I have, Shemya is an Air Force facility and has much more in the way of billeting and hot cooking facilities available on site to house and feed people, as this incident shows; Cold Bay doesnt.

My Commander in Turkey and a fellow Sergeant at Guam were assigned to Shemya during their careers (12 month assignments each) and we discussed to topic of inflight emergencies. They told me that while there they heard of or even worked the diversions on the ground, bussing passengers to the base billeting facilities or into barracks that were readied in a quick amount of time, these things were handled very well and the turnaround wasnt anything like the starkness or lack of amenity compared to the experiences at Cold Bay.

The base had a very good response mode built in for these incidents. Crash and Recovery team, base operations, weather, billeting, barracks and of course mess facilities made this happen. Now that the Cold War is over though, the base is much less staffed, but it still remains in the active inventory I think. Personally I would have rather diverted into SYA than Cold Bay. (G)

BTW..If you have MS Flight Simulator 2000, there's an AWESOME scenery of SYA on FlightSim.Com. It looks -just like it!- Download it and take a look at "The Rock". (G)

Regards
MAC
 
desertjets
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 2:38 pm

Given the choice which would you rather have??? Airline food or fresh bisquits and bacon???

I didn't catch that though. But I would imagine the dinner service would have already gone through the plane at that point. So all that was left was the breakfast service. Would the catering onboard have spoiled without power running???
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
MAC_Veteran
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Joined: Tue Jun 08, 1999 3:03 am

RE: DesertJets

Mon Mar 26, 2001 2:46 pm

I would imagine they had at least APU power or capability to run an engine for power, but..given there was an electrical problem with smoke in the cockpit they were troubleshooting, they probably elected to pull the breakers on the whole thing so as to not take a chance bruning the whole thing up if it was that bad. MD-11 past history in mind..a-la..SR111.

The breakfast service -could- have been offloaded and served if Cold Bay had a fleet service vehicle capable of widebody ops was available (read that as height..the biggest plane they probably get there is a 727 or L-188 when Reeve was flying) that could raise up and offload at cabin level. Those meal carriers on wheels are heavy and a pain in the ass to unload one by one. I doubt they had a fleet service truck capable of doing athat though. Much more likely at ANC or even Shemya AFB (LOL!) Shemya had to be capable of C-5's and I know for a fact they had equipment to service them there. (G)

Regards
MAC
 
FLY777UAL
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 2:56 pm

Hats off to Cold Bay, though!

They handled the emergency extremely well, and I hope they get justly rewarded for their kindness by Delta!

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L
 
MAC_Veteran
Posts: 702
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 1999 3:03 am

RE: Shemya AFS Links

Mon Mar 26, 2001 2:57 pm

Here are a few links on Shemya, it's quite a capable facility as you'll see in the links below, which will probably make you wonder..Why did they go to Cold Bay?
Anyway, have a go at these.

Semichi Sam's website on Shemya: A lot of additional links here too.

http://members.aol.com/semichisam/shemya/sam.html

The official Eareckson Air Station wesbite (the -new- name for Shemya AFS)
Gives some detail I guess on support for scheduled operations/diversions I think.

http://www.elmendorf.af.mil/Units/Eareckson/EARHOME.HTM

Regards
MAC
 
jourdan747
Topic Author
Posts: 199
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 3:07 pm

PW4084,and MAC_Veteran you made some great points....
I got some more info about this incedent.....When the flight flew to ANC from Cold Bay,all passengers were de-planed so that they can eat.I'm thinking that there must of been a shortage of food in Cold Bay for the airline to do that.

Thankfully nobody was injured in this case but I could only imagine what would happen if a flight diverted to Cold Bay due to severe turbulance and passengers or crew are injured and need medical assistance...it's a scary thought!

I was reading that with the new Polar routes Continental and United are flying from the New York area (EWR for CO and JFK for UA) to Hong Kong....airports in the Russian Far East are usable alternates for an emergency situation....those include places like Yakutsk,Russia.....I wonder how they would be able to handle a situation like the one in Cold Bay during the severe winter months....
 
jourdan747
Topic Author
Posts: 199
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2001 5:53 pm

RE: What Is Delta Doing?

Mon Mar 26, 2001 3:13 pm

Hi All,
The people in Cold Bay did a great job helping the people of this Delta flight.....

And the cost of traveling to and from Cold Bay is very expensive.....

I would offically like to know what Delta will do to thank the city of Cold Bay for all their help in this situation.....IS THERE ANY DELTA AIRLINES STAFF on this Forum who could find out and let us know?? THANKS!
 
desertjets
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 3:14 pm

MAC... I looked at the official site and it is indeed an interesting place. It almost seems like a penal colony, needless to say military barracks don't help to shed that image.

I would have to imagine Cold Bay was the closest place to land... otherwise Anchorage or Shemya would have been the place to go.

As for the Russian far east, some of the diversion airports are pretty well setup. I believe Yakutsk has a population of more than a million people. While eastern Siberia is desolate there are a few decent sized cities.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
hkgspotter1
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 3:26 pm

I would love that to happen to me !!, I mean as long as the plane did not crash and everyone is fine.

Great story to tell your freinds.
 
desertjets
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 3:12 pm

RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 3:31 pm

While it might be fun to romanticize about all of this, being an aviation enthusiaist I can safely say that this would not be fun. You might be one of the lucky ones to get to share a little hotel room with 3 other strangers (remember the movie "Planes Trains and Automobiles"?) or sleep on the school gym floor on wrestling mats.

So the choice is if you had to be stuck in the middle of nowhere, where would it be... after comparing the two facilities Shemya wins hands down.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
delta fly boy
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2000 7:16 pm

RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 5:58 pm

I work for DAL, and I heard rumor that we will be giving the people of cold bay something.. i will find out more info at work this week.
 
L-188
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 6:30 pm

Desertjets, have you been out there before??? I ask because you seem to know the drill pretty well. Paying Pavloff Services about $110 a nite to stay at the motel with four strangers.

Anyway I wouldn't call it the most distant place on earth. I grew up there as a kid, I remember when they built the gym the pax stayed in. I also worked for Reeve from 94 to 97 so I have a pretty good idea about what equiptment they have up there.

Anyway for those of you who wonder how they got the pax off. They probably got the old Reeve forklift from wherever it is parked and got one of the bins and had one of the Frosty Fuel guys drive it to the front door of the aircraft and use it like an elevator. When I was out there we did the exact same thing with an Aeroflot IL-62 that came in one time. The door on that aircraft is about 3-4 taller then the door hight on a L-188. I don't think G&K's has a lift that would reach high enough to do the job. Of couse Gary could have bought something since I left.

I am not surprised that the people out there knew what to do. We where used to having stranded passengers out there, just not in those numbers. Remember this airfield has been touted as an alternative landing site for years. I remember the station manager leading reps from NCA, JAL, and others showing them the equiptment we did have. It was fairly inadaquate but they where curious to see what we had.


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B744F
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Mon Mar 26, 2001 9:41 pm

PW4084

divertion of a380 to Petropavlovsk will not be i kind of disaster. there are two runways, one is more than 11000 ft long and airport is equipped to accept 300+ seats jets (several years ago there was IL86 (350 seats) on scheduled services). also IL96 (250seats), tu154 and IL62 (180 seats) flying there every day, and population is around it is defenitely not a kind of Cold Bay.
 
Guest

RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Tue Mar 27, 2001 12:11 am

I wonder if Pat (DeltaSFO) knows how DL is compensating Cold Bay, he usually loves to sing the praises of his employer.

Pat, you know much about this?

rgds
russ
 
desertjets
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Tue Mar 27, 2001 3:19 am

L-188... nope never been. All of that info was actually in the press release...  Smile

Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
L-188
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RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Tue Mar 27, 2001 5:00 am

I did have some problems with the description of the place in that regard. There is a fairly decent resteraut facility at the weathered in. That is assuming that part is still open. It's main job was to provide meals to the Reeve workers. When they shut down it may have taken one of the main reasons for it's existance away.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
PW4084
Posts: 287
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2001 7:31 pm

RE: Delta MD-11 Diverts To A City Of 65!

Tue Mar 27, 2001 8:24 am

I think there has been a lot of good discussion on the diversion airport topic. I admit that Shemya has some advantages over Cold Bay. Thanks for the links MAC_Veteran. The redeeming factors of Cold Bay are the long runway and the 200-1/2 ILS. It is about 550 NM from ANC. If I was on fire and Shemya was closer, I wouldn't think twice about going there. Shemya is about 825 NM from Cold Bay and Shemya is about 1250 NM from Anchorage. I think you all will agree with me that this issue won't just go away as airplanes get better.


B744F, thanks for that information. I haven't been to Petropavlovsk...I guess I wasn't trying to say a disaster would result if an A380 (or insert any other large airplane here) diverted there, I was just trying to construct a likely scenario.

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