Boeing 777 in Spotlight After London Crash

Popular passenger jets had piled up 3.5M hours without such an incident
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2008 10:38 AM CST
Captain Peter Burkill, centre, and his crew Cabin Service Director Sharron Eaton-Mercer, right, and First Senior Officer John Coward, who were flying the British Airways Boeing 777 plane flying from...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – British and American investigators are still piecing together flight data to determine why a Boeing 777's engines suddenly refused to increase power just short of landing, causing the plane to crash-land at London's Heathrow airport on Thursday. The unexplained crash has drawn worldwide puzzlement, as the popular passenger plane previously enjoyed an exemplary, accident-free safety record, USA Today reports.

"It's a mystery from what I see so far," one academic said. Complex computers aboard the aircraft might have malfunctioned, sending the wrong message to engines; the jet's fuel supply could also be to blame. Investigators have not yet ruled out any potential cause of the crash—including human error, despite the much-publicized heroism of pilots in landing it safely.