Serious incident Boeing 777-3FXER A6-ETR, 14 Oct 2017
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 214607
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B77W model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 777-3FXER
Owner/operator:Etihad Airways
Registration: A6-ETR
MSN: 41701/1155
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 365
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Category:Serious incident
Location:530 km NNW Adelaide, SA -   Australia
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH/OMAA)
Destination airport:Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW (SYD/YSSY)
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On 14 October 2017, a Boeing 777-300 aircraft, registered A6-ETR and operated by Etihad Airways, was on a scheduled passenger service from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to Sydney, Australia. An augmented flight crew, consisting of two pilots in each crew (crew A and crew B) conducted the flight.
At about 0407 Central Daylight-saving Time, while in the cruise and with flight crew B flying the aircraft, the flight crew noticed a burning smell coming from an air vent. In an attempt to establish the source of the smell, they requested that cabin crewmembers check the forward galley. The cabin crew confirmed that the forward galley was clear of any burning smells or smoke. The flight crew then requested two other cabin crewmembers enter the flight deck, who confirmed the burning smell. Around this time, the aural fire bell activated, a master warning light illuminated and a warning message ‘FIRE CARGO FWD’ was displayed on the engine-indicating and crew‑alerting system.

In response, the flight crew actioned the non-normal checklist, which included arming the forward cargo fire switches located in the flight compartment overhead panel. This action resulted in numerous mechanical and electrical actions, including de-energising the recirculation fan and closing the air vents in the forward cargo compartment. The flight crew then selected the cargo fire discharge switch, which discharged the two fire extinguisher bottles located in the forward cargo compartment. The flight crew declared a MAYDAY to air traffic control and advised of their intention to divert to Adelaide Airport, South Australia, as it was the nearest suitable airport for the aircraft type.

Flight crew A had just completed their scheduled rest period and entered the flight deck where they were briefed by flight crew B of the situation. Flight crew A assumed control of the aircraft as they were the designated crew for landing. Flight crew B remained on the flight deck to provide assistance. A rapid descent to flight level 125 was conducted and the aircraft was diverted to Adelaide.
During the remainder of the flight, the cabin crew, operator and passengers were informed of the situation and the diversion. The flight crew also advised air traffic control that, if smoke or fire from the forward cargo compartment was confirmed by emergency services upon landing, they would evacuate the aircraft on the runway.
At 04:55, the aircraft landed uneventfully. The emergency services advised the flight crew that they did not observe any smoke or fire emanating from the aircraft. The aircraft was taxied from the runway to taxiway ‘F6’, where the emergency services inspected the aircraft externally with a thermal imaging camera. They confirmed that there were no identified hot spots indicating an on‑going fire in the forward cargo compartment. Based on this information, as a precaution, the crew decided to conduct a rapid deplane of the passengers through passenger door 5L using mobile boarding stairs. All passengers and crew disembarked in a controlled manner and were transported to the passenger terminal. Nil injuries were reported during the disembarkation.

During cruise, a burning smell was detected in the flight deck and the forward cargo compartment fire warning activated. The flight crew armed and set the forward cargo fire suppression system and diverted the aircraft to the nearest airport for a safe landing.
A wiring loom situated above the forward cargo compartment about body station 508 was incorrectly routed, likely during manufacture of the aircraft. Over several years, wires in that loom chafed against the support structure and short circuited. Electrical arcing created smoke that activated the forward cargo smoke detector.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 10 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

22-Aug-2018 13:40 harro Added
21-Jun-2020 06:09 AviationFan100 Updated [Total occupants]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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