Leak caused in-flight drama

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Re­becca Par­ish

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.

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