Leak caused in-flight drama
A “massive leak” from an air-conditioning system on a Qantas aircraft carrying mine workers forced an emergency diversion shortly after take-off, safety investigators have found.
The flight was carrying Fortescue Metals Group staff from Christmas Creek to Perth on June 7 when cabin crew and passengers heard a “whistling” noise.
The Fokker F28 aircraft began losing air from the cabin faster than its pressurised system could handle. The flight, which left Christmas Creek at 10am, was diverted by air traffic control to Newman and landed at 11am.
An investigation by the Austra- lian Transport Safety Bureau found there was a “heavy leak” from the recirculation duct in the air-conditioning system, and a “massive leak” from the inlet and outlet of the plane’s air-conditioning pack.
A flight deck temperature controller, recirculation duct, primary and secondary outflow valves, along with primary and secondary heat exchangers on the aircraft were replaced. Qantas told the ATSB that all parts removed would be sent to the manufacturer for further investigation.
FMG chief executive Nev Power said he was pleased a thorough investigation had confirmed the right actions were taken to keep the miner’s staff safe.