Aviation safety investigations & reports

Aircraft cabin water leak involving an Airbus A380, VH-OQD, near Los Angeles, USA on 2 July 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 2 July 2014, a Qantas Airbus A380 aircraft, registered VH-OQD, departed Los Angeles, USA, for Melbourne, Victoria. During the climb, the captain switched off the seatbelt sign. A few minutes later, a cabin attendant entered the business class galley and, as she switched the hot water on, observed water leaking out from under the meal carts. A cabin supervisor then pulled the carts forward to access and switch off the water shut off valve, but that did not stem the flow of water.

A second officer went into the cabin to determine how much water had leaked and confirmed that the valve was switched off. The flight crew contacted maintenance watch ground staff. They advised the crew that there was a main switch to the potable water on the flight attendants’ panel and the cabin crew located the switch and selected it to ‘OFF’, which then stopped the water flow.

As a precaution, the cabin crew switched off the in-flight entertainment system and the power to all controls in the seats. With the potable water supply switched off, there was no water available for the toilets or basins for the duration of the flight. The crew elected to return to Los Angeles.

Initial engineering inspection found that the coupling that joins the water pipe at the floor level where the water supply enters the galley was unlatched. There was evidence that the rope-style mops used by cleaners may have contributed to the coupling coming undone. A fleet wide inspection of the aircraft was carried out and temporary preventative action taken on all similar galley installations.

This incident provides an excellent example of effective crew resource management techniques.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 35

Download final report
[Download  PDF: 176KB]
General details
Date: 02 July 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1200 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Los Angeles International Airport    
State: International   Occurrence type: Airframe - Other  
Release date: 15 October 2014   Occurrence category: 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 Unknown  
Departure point Los Angeles, USA  
Destination Melbourne, Vic.  
Last update 14 November 2018