On 18 August 2006, a Boeing 747-438 aircraft, registered VH-OJP, with a crew of 18 and 243 passengers departed Hong Kong, China, on a scheduled passenger service to Melbourne, Australia.
While in cruise, at a position 482 km north-west of Darwin, one of the cabin crew notified the flight crew that there was a smell of fuel in the first class cabin. One of the pilots verified the fuel smell and then proceeded to inspect the engines from the cabin windows.
A fluid trail was evident from the rear of the number-3 engine. During this time, it was noted by the other pilots that the number-3 engine had a higher than normal fuel flow. The flight crew conducted an in-flight shut down of the number-3 engine and diverted the aircraft to Darwin.
A subsequent inspection of the number-3 engine revealed the fuel manifold return line had fractured, causing a fuel leak. The fuel line was replaced and the aircraft was returned to service.
In 2005, the ATSB investigated two other fuel manifold return line fractures, from the same engine type, under similar circumstances.
|Date:||18 August 2006||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Location:||482km NW Darwin|
|State:||Northern Territory||Occurrence type:||Fuel systems|
|Release date:||09 November 2006||Occurrence category:||Incident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||None|
|Aircraft manufacturer||The Boeing Company|
|Type of operation||Air Transport High Capacity|
|Damage to aircraft||Minor|
|Departure point||Hong Kong|