Reading this makes me wonder what would have happened if there hadn't been enough brains in the cockpit to cope with it all...
"As luck would have it, there were five experienced pilots — including three captains — aboard the plane. The flight's captain, Richard de Crespigny, was being given his annual check ride — a test of his piloting skills — by another captain. That man was himself being evaluated by a third captain. There were also first and second officers, part of the normal three-pilot team.
One concentrated on flying the plane, while the others dealt with the computer alarms and made announcements to the giant planeload of passengers, some of whom said they were frantically pointing to flames streaming from the engine. Working flat out, it took 50 minutes for the pilots to prioritize and work through each of the messages — necessary steps to determine the status of the plane."
I wonder if/when they'll release those tapes - it'd be an intriguing set of comms.