UPDATING: Ethiopian Boeing 787 Involved In Incident at London Heathrow
Photos showing the rear galley and rear of the passenger cabin on an Ethiopian 787, the approximate area where a fire occurred in London. Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren
UPDATE 7-13-13 12:45pm
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch this afternoon has issued a press release with addition details into Friday’s Ethiopian 787 fire.
The AAIB stated that the aircraft is now located in a hangar at Heathrow. The NTSB, as well as the Civil Aviation Authority of Ethiopia will be assisting the AAIB. The AAIB also added that “the initial witness and physical evidence shows that this event resulted in smoke throughout the fuselage and extensive heat damage in the upper portion of the rear fuselage. “
UPDATE- 7-13-13 10:20am
On Saturday morning, Ethiopian Airlines released a statement via Facebook providing some further details into the circumstances leading up to the fire on board their Boeing 787 at London’s Heathrow Airport.
It is still unclear how exactly smoke was detected on board, whether it was by personnel on the aircraft or by mechanical smoke detector. A possible cause for the fire has also not yet been released. However, with all internal and exterior power sources switched off, this fire may very well have been started by an external source non-aircraft related system.
The NTSB has also released the following statement:
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW
News broke on Friday afternoon that an Ethiopian Boeing 787, registration ET-AOP, “caught fire” according to several reports. The aircraft, which was at a gate after arriving 8 hours earlier and unoccupied at the time, was seen with a small amount of smoke. The aircraft was doused by fire retardant foam by at least three emergency vehicles. At this time, there is no information as to the cause of the fire, or the extent of the damage.
Images appear to show fire damage to the top of the fuselage near the tail section of the 787. Such damage is inconsistent with the fire damage caused by the malfunctioning battery system that caused the 787 grounding. The composite skin of the 787 melts at a minimum temperature of 649 degrees F, according to various reports after the initial battery fire. It is possible that this fire may have been caused by a fire in the rear galley or
crew rest (Jon Ostrower of the Wall Street Journal has reported that the Ethiopian 787s do not have a crew rest area), though nothing is confirmed at this point. Airport operations have now resumed.
Ethiopian Airlines has released a statement, the text of which is contained below.
Today on Friday, 12 July 2013, smoke was detected from Ethiopian Airlines B787 aircraft with registration number ET-AOP, which was parked at London Heathrow airport for more than eight hours. The aircraft was empty when the incident was observed. The cause of the incident is under investigation by all concerned. Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline and a member of Star Alliance since 2011 registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years.
NYCAviation was on board the delivery flight of the first Ethiopian 787 last year. Check out the pictures from the flight here.