UK Daily Mail
Friday, July 25, 2008
Passengers vomited into oxygen masks, debris flew through the cabin and part of the ceiling and floor collapsed when a hole ‘the size of a mini-van’ torn in the belly of a Qantas Boeing 747 forced an emergency landing in Manila today.
The packed aircraft, which was carrying 346 passengers and 19 crew from London to Melbourne, was said to have plunged a terrifying 20,000 feet after what the pilot described as an “explosive decompression” shortly after leaving Hong Kong bound for Melbourne.
Experts initially said the hole could have been caused by an explosion in the baggage compartment.
David Learmount, Safety Editor at Flight International Magazine, told the Times: “It’s possible there was some kind of explosive device in the suitcases. There’s a hole where there shouldn’t be.”
However he added there were other possible causes for the damage, which he said was almost certainly caused by “blown out by air escaping from a crack caused by some kind of failure”.
News Limited reported that engineers discovered a large amount of corrosion in the Qantas jumbo during a major refurbishment earlier this year.
The 17-year-old Boeing 747-400, registration VH-OJK, received a new interior at Victoria’s Avalon Airport in March.
Aviation sources said aircraft engineers had noted a “lot” of corrosion during the refit, the report said.
This article was posted: Friday, July 25, 2008 at 8:22 am