Czech investigators have detailed a serious incident in which a Smartwings Boeing 737-800 departing the Greek island of Samos continued its flight to Prague despite an engine failure as the aircraft reached cruise altitude.
Investigation authority UZPLN states, in a third-quarter bulletin, that the aircraft had reached top of climb at 36,000ft, after taking off from Samos airport on 22 August, when its left-hand CFM International CFM56 engine failed.
The inquiry says the captain requested a descent to 24,000ft and reported a maintenance issue to air traffic control but did not relay an urgency transmission.
UZPLN says the crew twice attempted to restart the powerplant but was unsuccessful.
It adds that the captain identified Prague – the original destination – as the "nearest suitable airport", despite the flight's typically taking 2h 45min, resulting in the aircraft's having to fly another 2h 20min in order to reach the Czech capital.
The inquiry has published a preliminary indication of the aircraft's track which indicates it passed close to major airports including Sofia, Belgrade, Zagreb, Budapest and Vienna.
None of the air traffic control centres en route was notified by the crew about the engine failure, adds UZPLN.
The pilots only transmitted a 'pan pan' urgency message, mentioning the failure, after entering the Prague flight information region and contacting the Prague area control centre.
UZPLN says the aircraft landed and taxied to the parking stand. Inspection by engineers determined that the engine had suffered a fuel pump failure and obstruction of a fuel filter. "Other circumstances of the event are still under investigation," the authority states.