An Emirates A380 flight from Sydney to Dubai with more than 500 people aboard and a Turkish Airlines B777-300 carrying 292 passengers made separate emergency landings late last week – while a LAN A319 was evacuated on the tarmac before take-off when both its engines caught fire simultaneously.
The Emirates A380 diverted to Colombo, Sri Lanka on Friday after pilots detected smoke in the cockpit. The aircraft was flying to Dubai from Sydney. It was 320 nautical miles (about 600km) east of Colombo when pilots made a distress call.
Simon Hradecky’s Aviation Herald said the flight was EK 413 with 471 passengers and 30 crew. The smoke later subsided, the aircraft landed safely on Colombo’s runway 22 and the airline reported that the aircraft had experienced a technical fault. Passengers were transferred to another plane and the delay was 44 hours.
On the same day in another continent, a LAN Airlines A319 making a Peruvian domestic flight from Cajamarca in the Andes to Lima (and said to be carrying a surprising number of occupants – 204, according to the Aviation Herald) failed to depart because a total electrical shut-down caused all instruments to fail.
Things got worse. According to the French BEA safety authority, the LAN crew proceeded to shut down both engines but the engines did not correctly cease operating – fuel was still flowing to the combustion chambers, eventually causing fires in both engines.
As both engines burst into flame, the captain of the LAN plane ordered a full evacuation. It was carried out via three emergency slides. There were no injuries, emergency services extinguished the fires and the plane sustained only minor damage, but the occurrence still rates as a “serious incident”.
The previous day, a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to New York made an emergency diversion to Copenhagen about four hours after take-off when cabin crew found a small, unattended bag aboard, FTN News from Turkey reported.
Crew and passengers evacuated the aircraft at Copenhagen airport and full Danish security swung into action. The suspicious bag was found to be a camera bag left over from the previous flight.
Written by Peter Needham