Fight with fire. The plane burst into flames.
2 1983 year in June. Early evening. Aboard "Air Canada"Flight 797 was time for dinner. Captain Donald Cameron at that time worked in the «Air Canada» 17 years. He also flew 5000 hours on airplanes DC-9. Claude Uimet took the copilot's chair. The plane was half way from Dallas to Montreal. In addition, they was scheduled stop in Toronto. At the height of 10 kilometers visibility was excellent. The plane was only 41 passenger. Among them, Stanley Rogers - a rising star of folk music. (Read further on how to plane caught fire and how the fight fire)
At six o'clock the plane was half way in Toronto. Suddenly the pilots heard a strange clicking. It knocked three automatic fuse that protects against overloads sensitive circuits. Cameron decided to wait a bit and then restart them.
Captain: You know, sometimes something is overloaded or overheated. Then turn off the fuses. When they cool down, they just need to turn on, and it will work. Fault, we then write in the logbook.
The captain did not consider it a serious problem, and the aircraft continued to fly normally. Flight attendants carried the dinner. 8 minutes later the pilots tried to include fuses, however, they were not recorded. Without them the system drain in the toilet of the aircraft was not working.
Passenger: In the place where I was sitting, I felt a strange smell.
Some have noticed that from the dressing room began to leak smoke. The flight attendant smelled of burnt plastic. Other passengers also began to experience strangulation. The smoke spread rapidly. Crew transplanted passengers away from its source. He ran to the restroom senior steward with a fire extinguisher. However, he saw only smoke, not flames. So he just dealt with a fire extinguisher foam on the walls and floor toilet. After that, the cabin stewardess came and informed the pilots about the fire. Claude Uimet immediately went to see the situation. The aircraft was very high, and the fire - this is one of the most serious situations that may be encountered. Even a small spark could be deadly.
Captain: We must remember that in 1983 year on board the aircraft could smoke. I am not much worried, so as such a situation was not the first of my summer internship.
After going to the salon, the co-pilot realized that the situation was more serious than they thought. It was not cigarette smoke. At the same time the smoke began to dissipate. The crew was perplexed. They did not know whether to make an emergency landing. However, soon a new problem. Lit main lamp alarm. Electrical systems throughout the aircraft, including the cabin, stopped to function normally.
Fight with fire is more 30 minutes
Captain: The plane stopped working navigation devices and status monitoring. In operation, there were only three primitive device for motor control and four for flight control. We like flying a bomber during World War II.
When given the failure of electrical systems, the captain contacted the control tower near the command. At this time, the smoke in the cabin began to spread with new vigor. The pilots decided to go for an emergency landing. As they made the decision, I lit another emergency lamp. Standby power the aircraft was not available. A small problem has grown into a serious accident, and the crew gave a distress signal. In response, the controller gave them the go-ahead to land at the nearest airport. Now, the plane flew to Cincinnati. The captain began to descend to an altitude of 1500 meters. The airport was 46 kilometers. Unfortunately, even switching to emergency power supply, devices in the cockpit did not earn. It is also not functioning stabilizer on the tail of the aircraft. I work only elevator. Cameron used it to make the plane fall.
Captain: The plane has become very difficult, and management required all my concentration.
Meanwhile, more and more acrid smoke seeped into the cabin. He had an incredibly sharp smell. Passengers could not breathe as he literally stung his throat. Considering that somewhere was the source of fire, the pilots could not give passengers the oxygen masks. They would only aggravate the situation. With the spread of the fault, down came on-board communications. The stewardess had to shout to instruct passengers. Breathing becomes more difficult. When the smoke reached the cockpit, the plane had already flies to Cincinnati.
Passenger: On board there was no panic. There were screams and all that. The silence is appalling. I thought I will not see my family.
The plane caught fire in minutes
In 19: 13 manager in Cincinnati flight 797 saw on his radar. Because smoke pilots saw no ostentatious devices. That they did not shot down, the dispatcher carefully guided them to the runway. Inside the smoke and the heat was unbearable. Finally, through the smoke, the crew saw the airport. They began to approach.
Passenger: See and it was impossible to breathe. But I told myself not to give up and stay.
Because of the complicated operation of the aircraft, pilots forces were on the wane. Squinting from the thick smoke 797 flight crew landed the aircraft. In 19: 20 they touched the runway. Since the discovery of the problem was less than 30 minutes. Managed to open the first door to the senior steward. He began to help a choking passengers to leave the plane. Pilots quickly stop the engine. The co-pilot left the aircraft through the emergency window located five meters above the ground. Although it has been open three emergency exits, because of the thick smoke, passengers could not see them. Yet they crept into the light, and so got out of the airliner. Already on the ground the co-pilot noticed that the cockpit, dropping the wheel, sat Captain Cameron.
Captain: I could not get up from the chair. I tried but could not. I seemed drawn down.
Then the fire began to pour foam cockpit. It worked. The temperature in the plane dropped a bit, and the captain came to his senses. He was also able to escape through an emergency window. Less than 90 seconds after landing, the cabin when suddenly erupted. Flames swept by plane, train. Captain Cameron was the last who managed to leave the plane. The stewardess start to count people. On board was a crew 46 people. But all on the runway was not there.
Passenger: I assumed that if the pilot is able to land the plane, we can all go. But when I looked around, I realized that not everyone escaped.
All the survivors were suffering from smoke inhalation, but it was fixable. Unfortunately, the rising star of Stanley Rogers did not have time to leave the plane. What started with a small problem with the electrical killed 23 people. What caused the fire?
Charred aircraft DC-9 was on the runway airport in Cincinnati. Within an hour there arrived investigators from the National Committee for Transportation Safety (NTSB). After removing the bodies, the experts took from the dead blood test. They found it a lethal dose of chemicals caused by smoke from the fire.
Expert: When I boarded the plane, I felt a sharp odor. It was terrible. It was destroyed by fire. Most of the fuselage was burned. Burned and the whole interior of the aircraft.
To determine the cause of the fire, investigators began to dismantle the remains of the plane. Discarding version conscious arson investigators have suggested other possible causes of ignition - cigarette. When smoking was allowed on the plane, the cause of fire has always been trash, which threw cigarette butts. The researchers examined the trash. Her top was burned, but the garbage was full. This means that the fire could not begin there.
Studying the history of the aircraft, the experts found surprising facts. One year before the crash of the logbook were recovered paper. All of them spoke of an incredibly large number of problems. Problems with the aircraft observed before. For 4 years before the fire fell off a partition in the back of the plane, causing explosive decompression. Then the crew made an emergency landing. They were knocked out electric cables and hydraulics. The aircraft was repaired and sent to the next flight. In view of the incident, investigators have focused on the wires. The cables have been cut off, we should have beaten the connection. Investigators studied all the wires that survived the fire, but found no evidence of fire or short circuit. It was another dead end.
Experts began to study voice recorder and knocked out the fuse in the cockpit.
Photos after the plane caught fire
Investigator: circuit breakers are triggered as a precaution. If the motor overheats, the fuse is triggered, shutting off the engine by electricity. This provides security and does not illuminate the motor.
The researchers wanted to know: The fuse is tripped because of a fire or the engine itself was the cause of the fire. They built a mock toilet and forced to drain the engine seizing. Soon the engine warmed up to a temperature of 428 degree. The engine was hot, but not enough to ignite things around. Studying voice recorder, investigators were perplexed. For 3 minutes to turn off the automatic fuse recorder recorded one sound repeated 8 times. It was the sound of an electric discharge. The pilots could not hear it. The experts focused their attention on the cable under the toilet, which was coming from the generator. Two wires came down insulation. Bare wires in contact could cause a spark. However, the cause of the fire has not been able to understand.
Expert: Due to the huge amount of damage in the area of the restroom all the evidence pointing to the causes of the fire, were destroyed.
After this, experts from the NTSB have tried to understand how the fire sparked so much damage. All the passengers saw the smoke. But the fire was not until he did not wave swept through the plane.
Expert: Due to the lack of oxygen formed combustible gases that accumulated near the ceiling.
In fact, the fire was burning behind the walls of the toilet. The interior was leaking just smoke. The fire remained hidden from the eyes of the crew and passengers. Once the senior steward opened the door, unrestricted airflow burst inside and turned into food for the fire. The technical part of the study has been completed. But still there are many questions about the team's reaction to the fire. Could they do something to avoid the tragedy of the flight 797?
According to the report the investigators, the pilots were not properly informed of the flight attendants. They did not know the full extent of the problem. Some have suggested that the crew had to go before landing. However, NTSB and Pilots Association defended Cameron's team. The updated report NTSB noted that the actions of the crew corresponded to the severity of the accident. Years later, this statement still pulls the heart.
Captain: I am very happy that some managed to get off the plane. But also I am very sorry that those who did not come down - not yet. We spent too much time in order to rescue them out of hell. I am ashamed that it was not possible to save everyone. It still haunts me.
A year later, NTSB investigation suggested many ways to improve safety. After the incident on the flight 797, stewards began to receive better training and fire-fighting equipment. Also, today's passenger compartment floor applied certain inscriptions. They show the number and direction of the series to an emergency exit. Thanks to them, you can get even from the smoke of the aircraft.
Expert: The accident has been changed many rules. It was introduced control interior temperature. In addition, the aircraft was equipped with smoke detectors and additional fire extinguishers.
Unfortunately, these innovations do not give life back to 23 passengers.
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