Qantas jet probe focuses on exploding oxygen cylindersAir safety investigators said Sunday that an exploding oxygen cylinder may have been to blame for tearing a huge hole in an Australian Qantas jumbo jet in mid-air, nearly causing a disaster.
Officials said an oxygen back-up cylinder is missing from the aircraft, and ordered the airline to inspect all such bottles on its fleet of Boeing 747s.
The Qantas Boeing 747 was flying from Hong Kong Hong Kong (hŏng kŏng), Mandarin Xianggang, special administrative region of China, formerly a British crown colony (2005 est. pop. 6,899,000), land area 422 sq mi (1,092 sq km), adjacent to Guangdong prov. to Melbourne on Friday when an explosive bang led to a sudden loss of air pressure in the cabin.
The plane, which had originated in London and was carrying 365 passengers and crew, plunged 6,000 metres (20,000 feet) before stabilising, then made an emergency landing in the Philippines capital Manila.
There, stunned stun
tr.v. stunned, stun·ning, stuns
1. To daze or render senseless, by or as if by a blow.
2. To overwhelm or daze with a loud noise.
3. passengers saw a three-metre (10 foot) hole in the fuselage adjoining the right wing.
An investigator from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is the government body responsible for investigating transport-related accidents and incidents within Australia. It covers air, sea, rail and road travel. It is an agency of the Department of Transport and Regional Services. , Neville Blyth, told reporters in Manila that an oxygen back-up cylinder was missing.
"It is too early to say whether this was the cause of the explosion," Blyth said. "But one of the cylinders which provides back-up oxygen is missing."
He said investigators had ruled out terrorism.
"There is no evidence of a security-related event here. Philippine sniffer dogs sniffer dog
one trained to detect the presence of specified materials, usually drugs or explosives, by smell. The dogs can be of any breed. have inspected the baggage and found no materials of concern."
Blyth would not be drawn on the oxygen cylinder, which is roughly the size of a diver's scuba tank, nor say how many were on the aircraft.
He said the initial inquiry would take two to three days and a preliminary report on the findings should be released in two to three months.
In a statement, Qantas said it would inspect emergency oxygen cylinders on its entire fleet of 747s "as a precaution" by the end of the week.
A spokeswoman for the airline said it had 30 747-400s, including the plane involved in Friday's drama, plus four 747-300s. All 34 aircraft would be affected by the checks, she said.
Peter Gibson Peter Hansen Gibson (born April 14, 1971 in Greenwich, Connecticut) is the third of five children: Robert Christian Gibson Jr. (nicknamed, Gibby), Paula Elizabeth Gibson, Jeffrey Michael Gibson & Michael Patrick Gibson. , a spokesman for Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is the Australian federal agency responsible for the regulation of private and commercial flight. It was established on July 6 1995 when the air safety functions of the former Civil Aviation Authority of Australia were separated , told AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol. in Sydney that there were two cylinders "located pretty much exactly where that hole appeared."
"We cannot just say that is the cause but clearly the fact that two oxygen bottles are in that location, and clearly this was damage caused by some sort of outward pressure... means that is a key aspect of the investigation."
He said the cylinders provided emergency oxygen for the flight deck.
If confirmed, Gibson said, it would have implications for all of Qantas's 747s and probably for many others around the world.
He discounted a report that corrosion was to blame, saying that while minor corrosion had been found during a routine check a few months ago, it was in a totally different part of the plane.
Qantas prides itself on its extremely good safety record, and the plane's pilot John Bartels said in a statement that solid training enabled the flight crew to handle the emergency.
"As soon as we realised this was a decompression decompression /de·com·pres·sion/ (de?kom-presh´un) removal of pressure, especially from deep-sea divers and caisson workers to prevent bends, and from persons ascending to great heights. , I immediately pulled out my memory checklist," Bartels said.
"There were three of us in the cockpit and we all worked together and focused on doing what we had to do to get the aircraft down safely, which is exactly what we are trained to do."
Passengers praised the crew's handling of the incident, but some complained that not all the oxygen masks oxygen mask
A masklike device that is placed over the mouth and nose and through which oxygen is supplied from an attached storage tank. worked properly.
David Saunders David Saunders (Born on January 31, 1976, in Toledo, Ohio), is an American football player for the Columbus Destroyers of the Arena Football League as a WR/LB. David Saunders spends the off-season in Tampa, Florida and attended Palatine High School in Palatine, where he played told The Sunday Age paper in Melbourne that the elastic had deteriorated and his mask kept falling, while in some parts of the cabin they failed to drop down at all.
"A guy just went into a panic and smashed the whole panel off the ceiling to get to the mask," he said.
"The kids were screaming and flailing. Their cheeks and lips were turning blue from lack of oxygen."
Qantas defended its procedures, saying the masks had been properly checked, although it added that some systems were probably damaged as a result of the accident.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is leading the probe. The US Federal Aviation Administration Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), component of the U.S. Department of Transportation that sets standards for the air-worthiness of all civilian aircraft, inspects and licenses them, and regulates civilian and military air traffic through its air traffic control is also involved, along with manufacturer Boeing.