Qantas crew left breathless in frightening Mayday incident, aviation safety report reveals

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A Qantas captain and co-pilot were temporarily incapacitated in a terrifying Mayday incident three years ago, according to a report. Photo / Getty Images

Three years ago, a Qantas captain and co-pilot were left temporarily “incapacitated” and “breathless” in a terrible incident three years ago, a new aviation safety report has revealed.

The Australian Transportation Safety Board report released on Thursday revealed disturbing details about an Express Freighters Australia plane, which was traveling from Brisbane to Melbourne on August 15, 2018.

The crew donned oxygen masks when a warning light illuminated and the aircraft initiated an emergency descent.

But during the initial portion of the descent, the captain of the Qantas Boeing 737-376 was left “temporarily incapacitated” and “breathless and breathless” due to a reaction to the increased supply of respiratory oxygen from the aircraft. mask, according to the report. .

A mayday was then declared by the first officer, also known as the first officer, and the aircraft began a diversion to the Canberra airport.

A Qantas captain and co-pilot were temporarily incapacitated during a <a class=flight in 2018, a new aviation safety report has revealed. Photo / Getty Images” class=”article-media__image responsively-lazy” data-test-ui=”article-media__image”/>
A Qantas captain and co-pilot were temporarily incapacitated during a flight in 2018, a new aviation safety report has revealed. Photo / Getty Images

“The first officer, aware of the fact that they had already spoken of not feeling well, saw the captain slump forward, choking and out of breath,” said the ATSB.

“The first officer recalled checking on the captain during this episode but received no response.”

After the captain recovered, the first officer then suffered from “disabling symptoms consistent with hyperventilation”.

The captain’s radio called air traffic control, requesting the presence of emergency services upon arrival in Canberra where the plane landed safely.

The report noted that at “no time” were the two pilots incapacitated at the same time.

Investigation revealed that the intermittent flashing of the main warning light and overheat annunciator was likely due to an electrical failure in the right wing overheat detection system.

“During the descent, the captain selected the emergency flow on the oxygen mask, which resulted in gaseous oxygen ingestion, causing their temporary incapacity,” the report said.

“The flight crew performed the appropriate non-normal checklist, but the overheat indication could not be rectified due to the defective wing overheat detection system,” the report said.

“An additional fault with an isolation valve in the aircraft’s pressurization system prevented isolation of the pressure duct from the right wing body.

“This led the crew to perform additional troubleshooting during which the cabin air supply was reduced.

“In conjunction with a higher than normal cabin leak rate, the reduced airflow also decreased cabin pressure.”

After landing, the captain and the first officer were transported to hospital by ambulance for a medical evaluation.

The medical tests and evaluations carried out after the event could not determine the lasting effects of the flight.

During post-incident inspections, Qantas engineers identified “a series of operational problems” with the aircraft’s fuselage cabin drain valves, the fuselage door seal and the bellows seal. from the auxiliary power unit duct which affected the aircraft’s ability to maintain cabin pressure.

According to the report, Qantas has informed ATSB that it has incorporated maintenance changes to avoid similar incidents in the future.

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