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The ATSB is leading this safety investigation with the assistance of a number of other organisations and agencies, including the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration of the USA, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia and Qantas and Boeing.

Yesterday the aircraft was moved to a hangar. This will provide a safer and more optimal working environment for the investigation team.

The remainder of the freight on the aircraft has been progressively examined and removed from around the area of the rupture. This has allowed the investigation team full access to the area. The team have also been examining and clearing the area adjacent to the disrupted right cabin door.

The investigation team are in the process of examining the interior of the cabin including the onboard oxygen system, the passenger masks and portable crew oxygen cylinders. The aircraft outer panels around the ruptured area have also been removed.

A number of components and parts of components are being retained for further examination and analysis at the ATSB engineering facilities in Canberra.

Last night the aircraft cockpit voice recorder (CVR), which records crew conversations, radio traffic and cockpit ambient sounds, was downloaded by ATSB specialists in Canberra. Unfortunately, the standard two hour recording which works on an endless loop principle did not contain the event. The oldest recording commences after the descent and diversion into Manila, so the event itself appears to have been overwritten. However, the information that has been captured on the CVR may provide valuable insights into the flight crew's handling of the situation following the depressurisation.

The aircraft flight data recorder (FDR), which nominally records 25 hours of data, is being downloaded today at the ATSB Canberra facilities. The specialist team should know in the next day or two if the recording contains valid data.

The investigation team plan to continue the examination and collection of evidence from the aircraft. ATSB investigators in Australia are gathering data from the operator. Interviews with both flight crew and cabin crew are being conducted today in Melbourne.

A reminder that the ATSB requests that any passengers that experienced issues during the flight, or those who photographed or videoed the incident, contacts us via email at atsbinfo@atsb.gov.au

Media contact: 1800 020 616
 
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Last update 01 April 2011