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Home > Emergencies > What could have caused that hole on the QANTAS Boeing 747?
What could have caused that hole on the QANTAS Boeing 747?
Flying - Emergencies
Sunday, 10 August 2008 11:55

Hi Capt Lim
 
Just chanced upon your website. I was in Hong Kong recently and saw the news about the Qantas plane that had to make an emergency landing in Manila.
 
What could have caused that hole in the plane?

Cheryl,

Hi Cheryl,

The investigators are looking into the possibility of an exploding oxygen bottle as being the cause of a large hole on the side of the Qantas Boeing 747-400 plane. Part of a bottle burst into the plane's cabin and partly moved a door lock.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigators have been examining oxygen bottles in the plane and said part of one bottle had blown through the floor of the passenger compartment and moved a door handle towards the open position.

The ATSB director said that there was never any danger of the door opening. He said the impact sheared the door handle, which was designed to break if someone attempted to open the doors in flight and the door latches remained locked.

However, (for argument sake) it is possible to open the cabin door when the cabin has lost all its pressurization. In reality, the forward air flow may prevent the opening. Fortunately, in the Qantas emergency, the door latches were still locked and only the door handle was sheared off by the impact of part of the oxygen bottle.

Meanwhile, Qantas was ordered by the Australian Civil Aviation Authority (CASA) to check all the oxygen bottles on its fleet of Boeing 747s.

If the oxygen bottle was the cause of the explosion, then bad maintenance or design defect may have to take the blame for this near disaster. I hope to keep all updated on the outcome of the investigation soon.

For those who have missed this event, you can view two video clips below:-

Qantas Jet Emergency at Manila (CNN)
Qantas Jet Emergency at Manila (ITN)

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