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27th of April 2004, Cargo Fire Blog #649

With a crew of three a Fokker F-27 Friendship 500 was scheduled to fly a domestic cargo flight from Buenos Aires Ezeiza-Ministro Pistarini Airport to Porto Alegre-Salgado Filho International Airport (Brasil). The cargo for this flight consisted of oil samples, plant material and some animals. After all flight preparations were completed the aircraft took off and climbed to its cruise flight level of 170 (17.000 feet on standard barometer correction). The flight was uneventful up to the point where one of the crew members went into the cargo compartment, and discovered smoke. He attempted to extinguish the fire using the onboard firefighting equipment but was unsuccessful.

The stripped fuselage, sometime after the fire. (Source: baaa-acro.com © Stephen Klos Pugatch)

ATC was contacted and the crew declared an emergency. The only airport nearby (16 nm away) was Melo Airport in Uruguay. However, this airport was closed as its operating hours were from 07:00 hrs to 19:00 hrs. Due to the nature of the emergency ATC contacted the airport guard at Melo Airport and asked for his assistance. The airport guard switched on the runway lights and alerted local emergency services. The crew of the F-27 diverted towards Melo Airport and identified the runway thanks to the activated runway lights. A successful emergency landing was performed on runway 07 of Melo Airport, touching down 340 meters from the runway threshold. After a short landing roll of 640 meters the aircraft came to a stop, the crew performed the required emergency checklists and evacuated the aircraft via the cockpit windows. The heat and smoke in the cargo compartment were so intense at the time that they had no other option

More than 11 years later aircraft fuselage remains at the same location. (Source; aviation-safety.net © Jose Maria Techera)

About ten minutes after landing firefighters arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire. Damage to the aircraft, especially in cargo compartments E & F was so extensive that the aircraft was written off, as destroyed.


An investigation was launched and it was discovered that liquid had spilt from containers that were not suitable to be used for air transport in a pressurised aircraft. These containers were also filled with indiscriminate materials in such a way there was little to no residual capacity. The leaked liquid caused an exothermic chemical reaction (A reaction that releases energy into the environment in the form of heat) this caused a combustion of the materials carried, resulting in the fire. As contributing factors the lack of accurate administration of the cargo and careless handling contributed to the accident.


** Editorial note **


V2 Aviation - Training & Maintenance has not been able to obtain an investigation report on this accident. This blog is therefore based on several internet sources. Should there be an inconsistency in the blog don't hesitate to get in touch with us. There are two possibilities to do that, via the comments function at the bottom of this page or via the contact page of the website.


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