Aviation safety investigations & reports

Fumes Event - VH-VBL, en route Melbourne, Victoria to Coolangatta, Queensland, 5 June 2009

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 5 June 2009, during a scheduled passenger service from Melbourne, Victoria (Vic.) to Coolangatta, Queensland (Qld), the cabin crew of a Boeing Company 737-800 aircraft, registered VH-VBL, detected a strong intermittent smell in the rear of the cabin. An inspection by the cabin crew did not detect the source of the smell.

On descent prior to landing, cabin crew presented various symptoms. Two of the cabin crew used oxygen before recovering sufficiently to resume their duties. No passengers were affected.

The airport rescue and fire fighting service attended the aircraft at the arrival gate. Paramedics conducted medical checks on the cabin crew. Both the cabin crew and flight crew were taken to the local hospital for further examination and later released.

The cargo holds were opened prior to a precautionary inspection for the source of the fumes. The source and nature of the fumes was not identified.

As a result of the incident, the operator initiated and completed a number of safety actions to improve communications and processes in relation to air contamination events.

While it was not possible to determine the nature or source of the reported fumes, the incident highlights the potential for crew incapacitation from exposure to toxic smoke and fumes.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 3.07MB]
General details
Date: 05 June 2009   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1800 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): En route Melbourne, Victoria to Coolangatta, Queensland    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Fumes  
Release date: 29 June 2010   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 737  
Aircraft registration VH-VBL  
Serial number 30633  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Melbourne, Vic.  
Destination Gold Coast, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018