Boeing says that an elevator hinge bolt, previously believed to be missing from the SilkAir Boeing 737-300 which crashed on 19 December, 1997, was installed at the time. In a letter sent on 27 January to all 737 operators, the manufacturer says: "An examination of the wreckage gives clear evidence that the missing elevator hinge bolt had been installed." The letter adds that fasteners found to be missing from the 737's horizontal stabiliser had been documented as being in place when the aircraft received a quarter "C" check nine days before the accident, near Pelambang, Indonesia.

"At this time there are no indications that missing fasteners or bolts caused, or contributed to, the tragic crash," the letter says. Boeing says that checks on 192 737s worldwide found loose or missing leading-edge fasteners and/or elevator hinge bolts on eight aircraft, "-none of which was a safety-of-flight issue". Checks on factory 737s found no missing or loose fasteners or bolts, Boeing says.

Source: Flight International