Qantas ordered to inspect all oxygen bottles on flights

July 27th, 2008 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Canberra, July 27 (Xinhua) The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia Sunday ordered Qantas to inspect every oxygen bottle aboard its fleet of 30 Boeing 747s. A mid-air explosion had forced a Qantas jumbo to make an emergency landing in the Philippines last week.

CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said it was investigating whether an exploding oxygen container was responsible for ripping a jagged hole in the fuselage of flight QF30.

The Boeing 747-400, from London to Melbourne, was cruising at 8,800 metres with 346 passengers aboard when it was shaken by the blast.

Gibson said investigations into the cause of the accident were yet to really get into full swing.

“But we do know there were two oxygen bottles in that area, we do know they’re a main focus of the investigation, and we think it’s prudent to put safety first, to get inspections done now rather than wait any longer,” Gibson told reporters.

Gibson said if the oxygen bottles were then found to be the cause of the accident, passengers could rest assured Qantas’ other planes were safe.

Qantas would check each oxygen container and the brackets holding the containers, said Gibson, adding “It will be a visual inspection and it is a precautionary step.”

Gibson said oxygen bottles in other Qantas planes may also have to be inspected.

“Obviously they’ll be looked at in due course, but because this accident involved a 747, we’ll start there.”

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