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Air Canada - Smoke in the Cabin - 18 August 2003
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Air Canada - Smoke in the Cabin

REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- An Air Canada jumbo jet made an emergency landing at Iceland's Keflavik International Airport on Monday after smoke was detected in the passenger cabin.

No injuries were reported.

The Boeing 747-400, en route from Frankfurt to Toronto with 269 passengers and 13 crew, landed safely and remained on the ground, the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration said.

Laura Cooke, spokeswoman for Air Canada, said the flight sent out a distress call reporting smoke in the cabin and declaring an emergency. Icelandic emergency services were put on highest alert.

"The cause of the smoke is under investigation but is believed to be from a malfunctioning re-circulation fan," Cooke said. "As soon as the problem was detected, the power was removed from the suspected malfunctioning fan and all other non-essential services aboard the aircraft."

The 747 was 1,054 kilometres southwest of Keflavik when the emergency was declared. The U.S. navy sent out an aircraft to meet the Canadian plane.

Cooke said Air Canada was working Monday afternoon to dispatch a plane to Iceland to pick up the passengers. The return flight was expected to land in Toronto at 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday.
 
Posts: 142 | Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Mon April 08 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks CD. Here is another article that adds some information about this incident from the Globe & Mail

Jet arrives in Toronto after emergency landing in Iceland

Canadian Press with Globe and Mail Update

Passengers and crew on an Air Canada jumbo jet that made an emergency landing at Iceland's Keflavik International Airport arrived safely in Toronto early Tuesday morning.

No injuries were reported when the Boeing 747-400, en route from Frankfurt to Toronto with 269 passengers and 13 crew, landed safely in Iceland on Monday and remained on the ground after smoke was detected in the passenger cabin.

Air Canada later dispatched a plane to Iceland to pick up the passengers. The return flight landed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport at 5:47 a.m. Tuesday.

Air Canada spokeswoman Laura Cooke said the passengers were fine and most of them were from Toronto, although some have taken connecting flights to Winnipeg.

Ms. Cooke said the cause of the smoke was under investigation, but it's believed to have been the result of a malfunctioning recirculation fan.

As soon as the problem was detected, the power was removed from the suspected malfunctioning fan and all other non-essential services aboard the aircraft.

Amanullah Awan, among passengers aboard the flight, told Toronto's Cable Pulse 24 that most people on the plane remained calm throughout the situation.

On Monday, the 269 white-knuckled passengers spent a fear-filled hour trapped high over the Atlantic Ocean .

"The smoke and the smell of it was a bit terrifying," said Toronto resident John Taylor, who was recovering in a terminal building at Keflavik, Iceland.

"I was watching a movie when I suddenly saw smoke," fellow passenger Jullh Aman said. "The captain told us there was a chance of fire on board."

The jet's captain tried to reassure passengers, but for the next 71 minutes nobody was positive what the problem was.

The incident revived memories of the crash of Swissair Flight 111, which plunged into the ocean off Peggy's Cove in 1998 after a creeping fire in flammable insulation. The pilots decided to try landing in Halifax rather than return to Boston, and swung out over the ocean to dump fuel first as the cockpit ceiling melted above them. Transportation Safety Board officials revealed earlier this year that the passengers learned of the emergency less than 10 minutes before the big jet smashed into the waters of St. Margaret's Bay, killing all 229 people on board.

On Monday's flight, at 11:27 a.m. eastern time, Flight 783 had already passed south of Iceland when smoke was detected and the captain declared an emergency. At that point, the plane was roughly midway from Frankfurt to Toronto.

The captain had two options for an emergency landing: Turn back and fly to the Keflavik airport on the southwestern tip of Iceland, about 580 nautical miles away; or land on Canadian soil at the airport in Goose Bay, Labrador, nearly 800 nautical miles away. He chose Iceland.

It was 12:38 p.m. by the time the plane landed. Passengers quickly left the craft without injury or emergency measures, and were taken into a terminal building, where medical personnel were ready to treat any cases of shock.

Passengers played down the incident and their feelings in the air.

"The passengers did very well and so did the crew," Canadian Brunhild Lazy said, relaxing in the terminal. "There was no real panic, but it was not a nice feeling."

When the captain raised the possibility of a fire on board, passengers were scared, Mr. Aman recounted. "But then he told us to calm down, and people seemed to do that."

But before they landed, airport officials took no chances, not sure how serious the plane's problem might be.

U.S. Navy jets from the U.S. base in Keflavik flew toward the Air Canada plane while 150 members of a rescue team went on alert at the airport, along with doctors and nurses. Ships from the Icelandic coast guard were sent out to sea around Keflavik, which is about 50 kilometres from Reykjavik, the capital. A hard-driving rain made the potentially serious situation more tense.

Several U.S. planes have made emergency landings in Iceland in recent years, but none raised such a high alert, according to security officials at the airport.

http://www.globeandmail.ca/servlet/story/RTGAM.20030818.wjett818/BNStory/National/
 
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