• The flight took off normally from the Kahului Airport before the steep dive toward the ocean
  • The aircraft made a quick recovery after being within 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean
  • The pilots then continued on their journey and filed the appropriate safety report after landing

A United Airlines flight that took off from Hawaii on Dec. 18 had plunged toward the ocean shortly after takeoff, in an occurrence that was previously unreported.

Flight UA1722, which took off from Kahului Airport at around 2.49 p.m. during stormy weather, began its journey to California as per usual. The Boeing 777 was about 2,200 feet in the air before going on a steep dive toward the Pacific Ocean.

The plane descended at a rate of nearly 8,600 feet per minute, and plummeted until the aircraft was around 800 feet away from the Pacific Ocean, before making a quick recovery, Air Current reported.

The entire ordeal lasted just about 45 seconds, and the aircraft reportedly continued on its journey and climbed up to 33,000 feet. The flight then landed 27 minutes early at their destination of San Francisco.

United Airlines said in a statement to CBS News the two pilots, who flew the aircraft, had filed the appropriate safety report soon after landing.

"United then closely coordinated with the FAA and ALPA on an investigation that ultimately resulted in the pilots receiving additional training," the airline said, referring to the Federal Aviation Administration and Air Line Pilots Association--a union representing most pilots.

"Safety remains our highest priority," the statement added.

The two pilots reportedly cooperated with the investigation and were also undergoing a training program. However, it wasn't clear what led to the incident.

A passenger named Rod Williams said he was traveling with his wife and two children when the aircraft went on the steep dive.

"We took off a normal rate of climb and then all of a sudden the nose pitched up pretty, pretty dramatically for maybe 3 to 5 seconds," Williams told the outlet. "And at that point, there were a number of screams that were let out because it was, you know, an unusual climb at that point. But it was very brief and it was followed by a very dramatic descent."

Williams said he glanced at his wife during the "nosedive," while their children sat between them.

"When the plane started to nosedive, multiple screams are being let out, at that point," Williams told CNN. "You're trying your best to maintain your composure – there's obviously kids on the flight – nobody really knows what's going on, but at the same time, you're concerned. You don't know if this is an issue, but it was certainly out of the ordinary."

Williams, who studied aviation in college, said he did not know how close the aircraft came toward the water on the day of the incident, until his father recently showed him a report about the flight.

"Now that I know, statistically what had happened, and that we were about 5 to 5.2 seconds from hitting the water, you know, I'm definitely counting my blessings," he added.

A United Airlines Boeing 777-200  lands at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco