Right Wing Fairing Missing, Large Hole In Fuselage Behind
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are
on their way to the Philippines, to find out what caused an
apparent explosive decompression incident onboard a Boeing 747-400
operated by Australian flag carrier Qantas.
The Associated Press reports those onboard Flight 30, from Hong
Kong to Melbourne, heard a loud bang shortly after takeoff. The
plane's flight crew then noticed the cabin was losing pressure, and
diverted the flight to Manila, where the jetliner made a safe
landing at 11:15 am local time.
As the flight's 346 passengers and 19 crewmembers exited the
plane, those on the ground discovered the 747's right leading edge
wing-to-body fairing was missing, and a five-foot hole was present
in the cargo area fuselage wall behind it. Luggage could be seen
jutting from the hole.
The AP cites a report by the Manila International Airport
Authority (MIAA), quoting pilot John Francis Bartels, that evidence
suggests "explosive decompression," apparently caused by a
technical malfunction. Terrorism is not suspected.
Passengers described the first moments after hearing the loud
noise in-flight. Michael Rahill compared the sound to "like a tire
exploding, but more violently." Fellow passenger Marina Scaffidi
added there was "wind swirling around the plane and some
The plane's flight crew initiated an emergency descent to 10,000
feet MSL as oxygen masks deployed from overhead. "The plane kept
going down not too fast, but it was descending," said Scaffidi. "No
one was very hysterical," though passengers did applaud after the
plane's wheels touched down.
Qantas will send another plane to transport passengers to
Melbourne, the airline said.
NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker has designated senior air
investigator Joe Sedor as the US Accredited Representative, and he
will be accompanied by a technical specialist in the area of
The US team will also include technical advisors from the FAA
and Boeing. Qantas will also send its own investigative team.