Japan’s Aircraft Accident and Railway Investigation Commission is examining whether the China Airlines (CAL) Boeing 737-800 that was destroyed in a fire early this week was leaking fuel prior to the start of the blaze.
An official in the commission’s Tokyo office confirms that investigators are currently trying to determine whether the aircraft fire was caused by a fuel leak.
Some news reports in Japan say eyewitnesses have come forward and reported seeing fuel leaking from one of the aircraft’s engines.
But an official that spoke to ATI, flightglobal.com's sister news site, was unable to confirm if eyewitnesses have come forward.
On the morning of 20 August the CAL 737-800 had completed a flight from Taipei and passengers were preparing to disembark at Naha airport on Japan’s Okinawa island when a fire started in or near one of the aircraft’s CFM International CFM56-7B26 engines.
Video footage of the scene shows that an explosion ensued and the aircraft became engulfed in flames.
All 165 people on board escaped safely and now the incident is subject to investigation by the Japanese authorities as well as Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration.
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