Mid 1980’s. Flight 188.
"Our crew had just had a 3 day layover in Monrovia, Liberia. We boarded our B-747-100 early that morning for what was to be a routine day flying to Nairobi with a stop in Lagos, Nigeria. We departed Roberts Field (Monrovia) on time at 8:15am for the 2:10 flight to Lagos. All was normal until we descended below 14,000 ft. The crew was preparing the cabin for landing and I was in the galley between L2/R2 finishing up paperwork.
The 747 started vibrating in an unusual way. I at first thought it was just the descent however several of us looked at each other but didn’t speak. In a split second all my paperwork flew out of the galley never to be found. The cabin filled with so much dust i could not see the back of the airplane. Then a loud banging. The L2 door had cracked open ever so slightly and created a whirlwind effect moving everything around in the cabin. No masked dropped as we were now well below 14,000 ft. I immediately called the cockpit but no answer. I got on the PA and asked the FA’s to take the closet seat and stay. I went to the upper deck and opened the cockpit door. I immediately saw the red light on the L2 door lit up on the flight engineers panel. I said “we have a serious issue”. He was a tall lanky older engineer and proceeded to tell me the door can’t crack open and it was most likely a short in the panel.
I told (didn’t ask) him to get up and look in the cabin. As he walked out the cockpit door into the upper deck area I heard oh ($@?&). He immediately went back into the cockpit. The captain then made an announcement.
Not being able to see through the cabin, Jeanette French remembers me on the PA saying “I need to hear from my FA’s”. Everyone was accounted for but 1. At this point we are all strapped in the jumpseats with no one at L2. The missing FA had backed herself in between two carts in the galley.
After we landed in Lagos we took a delay while operations brought a cable onboard and tied the door handle down. We moved all passengers around as there was a 50 seat rule if you have an inoperative door.
We then left for our 5:00 flight to Nairobi. The following day we boarded the plane for our return to Lagos and Monrovia. Door still inoperative. The 747 flew back to JFK with the inoperative door.
Weeks later after the door had been repaired we heard of another crew experiencing the same issue on the same 747.
I loved flying back in the day."