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On 15 May 2016, a Qantas Airways Airbus A380 aircraft, registered VH-OQD, operated flight QF7 from Sydney, New South Wales to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, United States.

About 2 hours prior to the aircraft’s arrival in Dallas-Fort Worth, a passenger alerted the cabin crew to the presence of smoke in the cabin. The cabin crew then initiated the basic fire drill procedure.

Two of the cabin crew proceeded to the source of the smoke with fire extinguishers. At the same time, the customer services manager (CSM) made an all stations emergency call on the aircraft interphone to alert flight crew and other cabin crew to the presence of smoke.

The cabin crew located the source of the smoke at seat 19F, in Zone F, on the upper deck. The crew removed the seat cushions and covers from seat 19F while the CSM turned off the power to the centre column of the seats. When the seat was further dismantled, the crew found a crushed personal electronic device (PED) wedged tightly in the seat mechanism. The cabin crew assessed that the crushed PED contained a lithium battery.

By that time, the PED was no longer emitting smoke, however, a strong acrid smell remained in the cabin. The crew then manoeuvred the seat and freed the PED. The crew placed the PED in a jug of water, which was then put in a metal box and monitored for the remainder of the flight.

The flight crew did not receive any abnormal indications or warnings.

No passengers were injured and the aircraft was not damaged in the incident.

This incident provides an excellent example of an effective response to an emergency situation. The crew were able to quickly implement the basic fire drill procedure which defined the roles and responsibilities of the responding crew. This enabled a rapid and coordinated response to the smoke event using all available resources. The effective implementation of this procedure also ensured the flight crew were kept informed as the situation developed.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 50

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General details
Date: 16 May 2016 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 15:35 UTC  
Location   (show map):3,000 km WSW of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, USA Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: International Occurrence type: Smoke 
Release date: 25 August 2016 Occurrence class: Environment 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Airbus 
Aircraft model: A380-842 
Aircraft registration: VH-OQD 
Serial number: 0026 
Operator: Qantas 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Sector: Jet 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Sydney, NSW
Destination:Dallas, USA
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Last update 18 April 2017