Accident Boeing 767-3Y0ER C-GHML, Monday 13 May 2002
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Date:Monday 13 May 2002
Type:Silhouette image of generic B763 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 767-3Y0ER
Owner/operator:Air Canada
Registration: C-GHML
MSN: 24948/380
Year of manufacture:1991
Total airframe hrs:46830 hours
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney PW4060
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 185
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial, repaired
Location:Toronto-Pearson International Airport, ON (YYZ) -   Canada
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Vancouver International Airport, BC (YVR/CYVR)
Destination airport:Toronto-Pearson International Airport, ON (YYZ/CYYZ)
Investigating agency: TSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On final approach approximately 10 miles from the airport, the flight crew received an aft cargo bay fire warning. The flight crew followed checklist procedures, activated the cargo bay fire extinguishers and declared an emergency. The fire indication went out some 20 to 30 seconds after activation of the fire
extinguishers, but a slight smell of smoke was noticed by the cabin crew and flight crew. Flight 116 landed and stopped on the runway to allow airport
firefighters to inspect the aircraft for fire. Firefighters, using infrared sensing equipment, did not detect any sign of fire. The flight crew taxied the aircraft to the terminal but stopped approximately 40 feet back from the gate to allow firefighters to open the aft cargo compartment for a detailed inspection. When the cargo door was opened, a significant amount of smoke was observed. Firefighters entered the cargo compartment and confirmed that the fire had been extinguished. TSB investigators discovered that an intense but relatively small fire had occurred, causing significant structural damage in the floor area of the aft
cargo compartment. Before it was extinguished, the fire had progressed approximately 18 inches up the right side wall of the aircraft, outside the aft cargo compartment. The cargo bay fire-extinguishing system, a Halon-based system, effectively suppressed the fire before it could spread further. The fire appears to have been a direct result of an electrical failure of a heater tape used to prevent water lines from freezing. The electrical failure of the heater tape ignited the covering of the insulation blankets installed below the open cargo floor and some debris found in the area.

FINDINGS AS TO CAUSES AND CONTRIBUTING FACTORS: "1. The B110 heater ribbon attached to the water supply line failed at the site of a recent water line repair, which allowed the elements of the heater ribbon to electrically arc, providing a source of ignition to surrounding materials; 2. The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) covering material of the thermal acoustic insulation was contaminated. The contaminated material provided an ignitable source of fuel for a self-sustaining fire; 3. The open cargo floor provided a trap that collected contaminants and debris in the bilge area of the cargo compartment; the debris and contaminants were an ignitable source of fuel to sustain a fire; 4. Circuit protection devices are designed to protect aircraft wiring and not aircraft components. The lack of circuit protection of the heater ribbon system permitted the heater ribbon failure to result in an arcing event."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: TSB
Report number: TSB Report A02O0123
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 3 months
Download report: Final report




Revision history:


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