Aviation safety investigations & reports

Smoke event involving Airbus A380, VH-OQD, about 1,500 km WSW of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, United States, on 16 May 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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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   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 3,000 km WSW of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, USA    
State: International   Occurrence type: Smoke  
Release date: 25 August 2016   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

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  
Last update 14 November 2018