ATSB Advises Operators To Check Oxygen Bottles

 - September 3, 2008, 10:50 AM

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has issued a safety advisory following the rapid depressurization of a Qantas Boeing 747-400 on July 25, urging operators to “note the circumstances…with a view to ensuring that all oxygen cylinders and cylinder installations are maintained in full accordance with the relevant manufacturer’s requirements, statutory regulations and established engineering [maintenance] best practices.” The incident began when one oxygen cylinder in a bank of seven on the right side of the cargo hold failed. The “forceful discharge” of the bottle’s pressurized contents tore a hole in the fuselage, causing loss of the wing-fuselage leading-edge fairing. The cylinder burst through the cabin floor next to the second main cabin door, then bounced off the door frame, handle and overhead paneling before exiting back through the hole in the floor then out the fuselage. After the airplane descended to 10,000 feet, the flight crew was able to divert to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. Qantas is working with the ATSB to “ensure that factors that may have contributed to the incident are understood and that any corrective actions ultimately identified are implemented,” the airline said. The 747 will be returned to service in November after $10 million in repairs.