Lithium batteries blamed for fatal UPS crash
UPS B747 aircraft which crashed nine miles south of Dubai International Airport carried Lithium batteries onboard that should have been declared as hazardous cargo (Arabian Business/Khaleej Times Online, 04-Apr-2011). The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has released the updated Air Accident Preliminary Report of B747 Freighter crashed on 03-Sep-2010.The Air Accident Investigation department of the GCAA has determined through factual analysis several key findings which are included in the report. The aircraft was carrying flammable batteries that were “distributed throughout the cargo decks” while “lithium ion battery packs” should have been singled out and handled as hazardous cargo. The US House of Representatives on approved an aviation bill on 01-Apr-2011 that includes provisions to block a new set of tougher rules that includes provisions to crack down on the transport of lithium batteries.
GCAA: “The key findings are summarized through several points i.e. A fire ignited onboard the aircraft’s main cargo deck after departure from Dubai, Smoke and fumes in the flight deck of the aircraft hindered the crew from managing the aircraft and the emergency situation, There were failures of the aircraft’s air conditioning, oxygen and flight controls systems, The inability to view the flight instruments prevented the crew from operating the aircraft normally for the descent and return to Dubai and from changing radio frequencies from Bahrain ATC to Dubai ATC then the Captain experienced problems with the supply of oxygen to the oxygen mask which required the Captain to leave his position on the flight deck”. Air Accident Preliminary Report, Source: Arabian Business, 04-Apr-2011.