ATSB seeks passengers' help in Qantas depressurisation probe

Singapore
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Passengers on the Qantas Airways Boeing 747-400 that made an emergency landing in Manila last week after a rapid decompression that followed the separation of a large section of the aircraft’s fuselage are being asked by investigators to provide assistance with the probe.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says in a statement that several passengers reported that some of the oxygen masks were not functioning properly after the rapid decompression of the cabin and the investigative body is asking for them to provide specific information about this.

It says all passengers on the aircraft will be surveyed and those who reported problems with mask deployment will be interviewed. It adds that a passenger survey should be completed in around two weeks.

The ATSB is also asking for passengers who photographed or videotaped the incident to come forward.

The emergency oxygen system on the aircraft is being looked into as a result of passengers’ complaints that not all masks were working and because there is one unaccounted for oxygen cylinder from the bank of 13 cylinders located in the area of the aircraft where the fuselage separation took place.

“Also recovered are a number of parts of components including part of a valve in the vicinity of the breech,” says the ATSB. “However, it is yet to be determined whether these components are part of the aircraft system.”

The incident occurred on the morning of 25 July as the 747-400 was operating as flight QF30 from Hong Kong to Melbourne. At around 29,000ft (8,839m) part of the fuselage separated at the forward cargo hold on the right side of the aircraft which led to a rapid decompression.

A rapid descent was carried out to 10,000ft, after which the aircraft made an emergency landing in Manila. No passengers or crew were injured in the incident.

The ATSB is leading the investigation with the assistance of the Philippine CAA, the US National Transportation Safety Board and FAA, the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Qantas and Boeing.

It says the aircraft’s flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder are now in Australia and they will be decoded over the next few days.“The ATSB will also be examining maintenance records for the aircraft,” it adds.

“This will include any airworthiness directives or alert bulletins that may have been issued by the regulators or the manufacturers.”

Source: flightglobalcom's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news