Fight with fire. The plane burst into flames.
Fight with fire. The plane burst into flames.

Fight with fire. The plane burst into flames.


2 1983 year in June. Early evening. Aboard "Air Canada"Flight 797 was time for dinner. Captain Donald Cameron at that time worked in the «Air Canada» 17 years. He also flew 5000 hours on airplanes DC-9. Claude Uimet took the copilot's chair. The plane was half way from Dallas to Montreal. In addition, they was scheduled stop in Toronto. At the height of 10 kilometers visibility was excellent. The plane was only 41 passenger. Among them, Stanley Rogers - a rising star of folk music. (Read further on how to plane caught fire and how the fight fire)


            At six o'clock in the evening the plane was halfway to Toronto. Suddenly the pilots heard a strange clicking. It knocked three automatic fuse that protects against overloads sensitive circuits. Cameron decided to wait a bit and then restart them.


Captain: You know, sometimes something is overloaded or overheated. Then turn off the fuses. When they cool down, they just need to turn on, and it will work. Fault, we then write in the logbook.


            The captain did not consider the problem serious, and the plane continued to fly in normal mode. Flight attendants carried dinner. After 8 minutes, the pilots tried to turn on the fuses, however, they were not fixed. Without them, the drain system in the toilet of the aircraft did not work.


Passenger: In the place where I was sitting, I felt a strange smell.


            Some noticed that smoke began to leak from the restroom. The flight attendant smelled of burnt plastic. Other passengers also began to experience strangulation. The smoke spread rapidly. Crew transplanted passengers away from its source. He ran to the restroom senior steward with a fire extinguisher. However, he saw only smoke, not flames. So he just dealt with a fire extinguisher foam on the walls and floor toilet. After that, the cabin stewardess came and informed the pilots about the fire. Claude Uimet immediately went to see the situation. The aircraft was very high, and the fire - this is one of the most serious situations that may be encountered. Even a small spark could be deadly.


Captain: We must remember that in 1983 year on board the aircraft could smoke. I am not much worried, so as such a situation was not the first of my summer internship.


            Passing into the salon, the co-pilot realized that the situation was more serious than they thought. It was not cigarette smoke. At the same time, smoke began to dissipate. The crew was perplexed. They did not know whether to make an emergency landing. However, a new problem appeared very soon. Lit main lamp alarm. Electrical systems throughout the aircraft, including the cabin, stopped to function normally.


Fight with fire is more 30 minutes

fight fire


Captain: The plane stopped working navigation devices and status monitoring. In operation, there were only three primitive device for motor control and four for flight control. We like flying a bomber during World War II.


            When the electrical systems failed, the captain contacted the nearest command tower. At this time, the smoke in the cabin began to spread with a new force. The pilots decided to go for an emergency landing. While they were making a decision, another emergency lamp caught fire. The reserve power of the aircraft was unavailable. A small problem has grown into a serious accident, and the crew gave a distress signal. In response, the controller gave them the go-ahead to land at the nearest airport. Now, the plane flew to Cincinnati. The captain began to descend to an altitude of 1500 meters. The airport was 46 kilometers. Unfortunately, even switching to emergency power supply, devices in the cockpit did not earn. It is also not functioning stabilizer on the tail of the aircraft. I work only elevator. Cameron used it to make the plane fall.


Captain: The plane has become very difficult, and management required all my concentration.


            Meanwhile, acrid smoke increasingly seeped into the cabin. He had an incredibly sharp smell. Passengers could not breathe normally, as he literally sore throats. Given that somewhere there was a source of ignition, the pilots could not give passengers oxygen masks. They would only aggravate the situation.. With the spread of the fault, down came on-board communications. The flight attendants had to shout to instruct passengers. It was getting harder and harder to breathe. When the smoke reached the cockpit, the plane was already approaching Cincinnati.


Passenger: On board there was no panic. There were screams and all that. The silence is appalling. I thought I will not see my family.


The plane caught fire in minutes

plane caught fire


            In 19: The 13 dispatcher in Cincinnati saw the 797 flight on its radar. Because of the smoke, the pilots did not see ostentatious instrumentation. So that they did not get off, the dispatcher carefully led them to the landing strip. Inside, smoke and heat were unbearable. Finally, through the smoke, the crew saw the airport. They started landing.


Passenger: See and it was impossible to breathe. But I told myself not to give up and stay.


            Due to the complicated control of the aircraft, the forces of the pilots were running out. Squinting at thick smoke, the crew of the 797 flight landed a plane. In 19: 20 they touched the runway. Less than 30 minutes have passed since the problem was detected. The first door was able to open the senior steward. He began to help the choking passengers to leave the plane. The pilots quickly shut down the engines. The co-pilot left the plane through the emergency window, located five meters above the ground. Although three emergency exits were opened, the passengers could not see them due to the thick smoke. Yet they crawled into the light, and so they got out of the airliner. Already on the ground, the co-pilot noticed that in the cockpit, falling on the steering wheel, was Captain Cameron.


Captain: I could not get up from the chair. I tried but could not. I seemed drawn down.


            Then the firefighters began to foam the cockpit. It worked. The temperature in the plane dropped a bit, and the captain came to his senses. He was also able to get out through the emergency window. 90 did not pass seconds after landing, as suddenly the cabin of the aircraft flared. Flames rolled across the plane like a train. Captain Cameron was the last to leave the plane. The stewardess began counting people. On board with the crew were 46 people. But everyone on the runway was not there. 


Passenger: I assumed that if the pilot is able to land the plane, we can all go. But when I looked around, I realized that not everyone escaped.


            All survivors suffered from smoke poisoning, but it was fixable. Unfortunately, the rising star Stanley Rogers did not have time to leave the plane. What started with a small problem with the electrical killed 23 people. What caused the fire?


            The burnt DC-9 was on the runway at Cincinnati. In an hour, investigators from the National Transport Safety Committee (NTSB) arrived there. After removing the bodies, the experts took blood from the dead for analysis. They found in it a lethal dose of chemicals caused by smoke from a fire.


Expert: When I boarded the plane, I felt a sharp odor. It was terrible. It was destroyed by fire. Most of the fuselage was burned. Burned and the whole interior of the aircraft.


            To determine the cause of the fire, investigators began to dismantle the remains of the aircraft. Rejecting the option of deliberate arson, the investigators suggested another possible cause of the fire - a cigarette. When smoking was allowed on the plane, the cause of the fires was always a trash bin, which was thrown into cigarette butts. Researchers studied the trashcan. Its top burned down, but the garbage itself remained intact. This means that the fire could not start there.


            Studying the history of the aircraft, the experts discovered amazing facts. One year before the accident, papers were removed from the logbook. They all talked about an incredibly large number of faults. Problems with this plane have been observed before. In 4, before the fire, the partition in the rear of the aircraft fell off, causing explosive decompression. Then the crew made an emergency landing. Electrical cables and hydraulics were knocked out. The aircraft was repaired and sent to the next flight. Given that incident, investigators focused on the wires. Cables that have been cut must have a connection point. Investigators studied all the wires that survived the fire, but did not find any evidence of a fire or short circuit. It was another dead end.


            Experts began to study the voice recorder and embossed fuses in the cockpit.


Photos after the plane caught fire

plane caught fire 1


Investigator: circuit breakers are triggered as a precaution. If the motor overheats, the fuse is triggered, shutting off the engine by electricity. This provides security and does not illuminate the motor.


            The researchers wanted to know: the fuse worked because of a fire or the motor itself caused the fire. They built a mock toilet and forced the motor to jam. Soon the motor warmed up to a temperature of 428 degrees. The motor was hot, but not enough to ignite the objects around. Studying the voice recorder, the investigators were puzzled. For 3 minutes before the automatic safety switch was turned off, the recorder recorded another sound that was repeated 8 times. It was the sound of an electric discharge. The pilots could not hear it. The experts focused their attention on the cable under the toilet, which was coming from the generator. Two wires came down insulation. Bare wires in contact could cause a spark. However, the cause of the fire has not been able to understand.


Expert: Due to the huge amount of damage in the area of ​​the restroom all the evidence pointing to the causes of the fire, were destroyed.


            After that, experts from the NTSB tried to understand how the fire provoked so much damage. All passengers saw smoke. But there was no flame until his wave swept across the plane.


Expert: Due to the lack of oxygen formed combustible gases that accumulated near the ceiling.


            In fact, the fire was burning outside the walls in the toilet. Only smoke was leaking into the cabin. The fire remained hidden from the eyes of the crew and passengers. Once the senior steward opened the door, unrestricted airflow burst inside and turned into food for the fire. The technical part of the study has been completed. But still there are many questions about the team's reaction to the fire. Could they do something to avoid the tragedy of the flight 797?


            According to the investigators report, the pilots were not properly informed by the flight attendants. They did not know the full extent of the problem. Some suggested that the crew should have gone before landing. However, the NTSB and the pilots association defended the Cameron team. The updated NTSB report noted that the actions of the crew corresponded to the severity of the accident. Over the years, this statement still pulls hearts.


Captain: I am very happy that some managed to get off the plane. But also I am very sorry that those who did not come down - not yet. We spent too much time in order to rescue them out of hell. I am ashamed that it was not possible to save everyone. It still haunts me.


            After a year of investigation, the NTSB offered a host of ways to improve security. After the incident on the 797 flight, the stewards began to receive the best training and fire-fighting equipment. Also, today on the floor of the cabin are applied certain inscriptions. They show the row number and direction to the emergency exit. Thanks to them, you can even get out of a smoke-filled plane.


Expert: The accident has been changed many rules. It was introduced control interior temperature. In addition, the aircraft was equipped with smoke detectors and additional fire extinguishers.


            Unfortunately, these innovations will not bring 23 life back to passengers. 


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