Researchers at New Zealand today seized the black box of a Boeing bound for the country that suddenly lost altitude, injuring many passengers, as part of the investigation into the causes of the accident.

Passengers said the aircraft, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner of the Chilean company Latam which departed from Sydney and was heading to Auckland with a final destination of Chile, suddenly lost altitude over the Tasman Sea last Monday night. Passengers not wearing seat belts were thrown towards the ceiling.

“Everybody started screaming, crying,” described Ellie Addison, an Australian who was among the 263 passengers on flight LA800. “People were thrown out of their seats, blood running down their faces,” he added.

The aircraft “experienced a technical incident during the journey which caused heavy traffic,” Latam said without elaborating.

This incident is the latest in a series of problems that have occurred in aircraft of the American company Boeing.

Boeing and Latam announced that they will cooperate with the authorities in order to determine the causes of the accident.

After conflicting announcements about which country will lead the investigation, New Zealand investigators announced today that they had begun gathering evidence, “primarily seizing the flight’s voice and data recorders.”

But “the research belongs to Chile”, clarified a representative.

Veronica Martinez, another passenger, said it felt like the plane stopped mid-flight, “then we just dived.” “People were flying, babies were falling, it was horrible, many people were injured,” he told AFP.

About 50 passengers received medical attention after the aircraft landed in Auckland, four of whom remained in hospital this morning.

Passengers will go to Santiago, Chile, their final destination “on a new flight on March 12,” Latam said.

Series of problems

Boeing said it was “ready to offer its support in the actions related to the investigation” of this accident, while a series of other problems have been recorded in recent times in the company’s aircraft.

In early January, a door on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 detached minutes after takeoff, slightly injuring several passengers.

The 737 MAX had been grounded for almost two years after the crash of two planes of this type: the first incident occurred in late 2018 and involved an aircraft of the Indonesian company Lion Air, while another Boeing of the Ethiopian company Ethiopian Airlines crashed in early 2019. More than 350 people lost their lives in total. In both cases the cause was mainly a problem in a new software.

Last week one Boeing 777 made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff from San Francisco after one of its wheels detached which eventually crashed into cars in the airport parking lot.

Earlier this month, the FAA gave Boeing 90 days to come up with a plan to fix quality control problems, with the FAA chief asking the company to “commit to real and deep improvements”.