Mode of transport
Occurrence ID
12° 1.17' S
135° 34.23'
Brief status
Occurrence status
Occurrence date
Report release date
Occurrence category
Aviation occurrence type
Elcho Island
Injury level

Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 5 May 2020, a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 was scheduled to operate a charter flight from Elcho Island to Ramingining, Northern Territory.

During the boarding process, the pilot asked the single passenger whether there were any dangerous goods in their luggage. The passenger proceeded to check the luggage and willingly handed over two spray cans with flammable contents. Following this, the pilot loaded the luggage into the aircraft.

As the aircraft climbed through approximately 4,000 ft, fumes were detected in the cabin described as smelling of solvent. At this time, the pilot became light-headed and adjusted the air vent to ensure fresh air was coming into the cabin. The pilot directed the passenger to check through the luggage for the source of the fumes. The passenger returned with a plastic container of glue, which had subsequently leaked. The pilot completed the fumes checklist and jettisoned the container safely out of the aircraft while operating over water.

Safety message

This incident highlights the importance of ensuring that all items taken on board an aircraft do not pose a safety risk to the flight. More information regarding dangerous goods can be found on the CASA website, including the Can I pack that? dangerous goods app for passengers.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.

Aircraft Details
Departure point
Elcho Island, Northern Territory
Ramingining, Northern Territory
Operation type
Gippsland Aeronautics Pty Ltd