Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Airline Explosion Investigation

Investigators involved with the China Airlines explosion in Japan yesterday are looking into the fact that the fire could have been caused by a fuel leak.

Japanese officials could reach no immediate conclusion to the cause of the explosion and Hiromi Tsurumi said: “We are investigating a possible fuel leak in the engine area. We want to know how the fuel could have leaked and how it could have caught fire.”

The US Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board along with Boeing sent investigators to the scene. On Wednesday efforts will begin by a team of Japanese, Taiwanese and US experts to uncover the cause of the accident.

Speculation is focussing on the possibility of a big fuel leak near the plane’s right engine and also the chance of loose parts or objects being sucked into the engine causing the sparks.

The pilots were the last ones out of the giant fireball after waiting for all passengers to be evacuated first. The crew have been praised by the airline for their bravery and the well-organised evacuation procedure.

Captain Yu Chien-Kuo was seen jumping from the cockpit window only a second after Co-Pilot Tseng Ta-Wei.

“Our pilots were the last to depart,” Mr. Sun said. “They told the flight attendants to execute an evacuation and help passengers escape within the shortest possible time.”

“They did what they should have and acted with great bravery,” he said. The aircraft was evacuated within three minutes.

It’s come to light that this particular aircraft had experienced a problem with its sensor on one of the wings earlier this month. This has been denied that it is related to the fire.

While the aircraft was in the air, air traffic control had received no distress signals from the pilot.

The investigation continues.

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