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737 freighter pilot incapacitated during depressurisation

The first officer of a Boeing 737-300 Freighter operated by Qantas unit Express Freighters Australia became incapacitated during an emergency descent on 15 August.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau says that the aircraft, VH-XMO, was flying between Brisbane and Melbourne and was cruising near Narrendera when the crew received a “wing body overheat” warning that resulted in the cabin depressurising. As a result, the crew descended to 20,000ft.

“The First Officer was subsequently incapacitated and the Captain descended to 8,000 ft and diverted the aircraft to Canberra,” the ATSB adds.

After the aircraft landed, the two pilots were taken to hospital for checks, but were cleared. The aircraft also appears to have no damage.

The occurrence has been categorised as a serious incident, and an investigation is expected to be completed during the final quarter of this year.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the 1987-build aircraft is owned by Qantas, and has been operated by EFA since October 2016.

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