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Mystery of the rough United landing that sent ceiling panels raining down

Technically Incorrect: A Boeing 767 arriving at Newark from Houston undergoes a strange landing experience.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Yes, that's a ceiling panel on your lap, sir.

NBC New York screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Sometimes, planes land with a bump.

Or a thump. Or a lot of swaying, and then a bump with a thump.

Rarer, I fear, is a landing when bits of the plane start to fly down onto passengers' heads.

This, however, is what a passenger reportedly says happened on United Airlines Flight 557 from Houston to Newark, New Jersey on Tuesday.

As NBC New York reports, a passenger who asked to remain anonymous says that the plane attempted to land, bounced, left the runway and came down even harder. It flew away again.

However, this second series of bumps is what the passenger says caused bits of the ceiling to start raining down upon them.

Video shows wires were exposed and the Boeing 767 looking like burglars had visited.

Judging from video, passengers also seemed bemused when a member of cabin crew welcomed the passengers to Newark when they were sure they were still in the air.

United Airlines disputes reports suggesting that the plane took off again and circled for 30 minutes, before finally achieving landing. Its records show that this was simply one hard landing, according to an airline spokeswoman who confirmed that weather was not a factor in this event.

"Cabin paneling came loose during a flight from Houston to Newark yesterday," the spokeswoman told me. "The flight landed safely at Newark with no injuries and the aircraft was taken out of service for evaluation and repair."

The airline wouldn't be drawn as to the cause of the heavy landing or the paneling coming loose.

As summer begins and passengers are forced to stand in hours-long lines just to get through security, they still have to hope that the planes they finally get on won't begin to disintegrate for reasons unknown.