ATSB probes Virgin Australia 737 fuel diversion

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Australia's air safety investigator is probing a recent low fuel diversion incident involving a Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says that the incident occurred on 18 June and involved a 737, registered VH-YIR, which had five crew and 86 passengers on board.

The aircraft departed from Brisbane at 0630 local time, bound for Adelaide and was carrying sufficient fuel for the flight. Based on weather reports and forecasts for Adelaide, the flight was not required to carry additional fuel for an alternate airport.

While the aircraft was enroute to its destination, fog developed at Adelaide, reducing visibility below the minimum required for landing. As a result, the crew diverted to Mildura, where they landed safely at 1010 local time following two instrument approaches.

The ATSB says it started an investigation into the incident shortly after the aircraft landed and the aircraft's flight data and cockpit voice recorders were removed and sent to its facilities in Canberra for downloading.

It adds that the investigation will involve examination of the data recorded, interviews with the flight crew involved and an examination of Virgin Australia's operating procedures.

The investigation is expected to be completed in March 2014, the ATSB says.