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DC93, en-route, Cincinnati OH USA, 1983

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Category: Fire Smoke and Fumes Fire Smoke and Fumes
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In-Flight Fire Accident


On 2 June 1983, a DC-9 aircraft operated by Air Canada was destroyed following an in-flight fire which began in one of the aircraft’s toilets. 23 passengers died in the accident.

In-Flight Fire

Fire in the air is one of the most hazardous situations that a flight crew can be faced with. Without aggressive intervention by the flight crew, a fire on board an aircraft can lead to the catastrophic loss of that aircraft within a very short space of time. Once a fire has become established, it is unlikely that the crew will be able to extinguish it. For further information, see the main article Fire in the Air


This is the abstract from the official report into the accident published by the National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) (USA):

“On June 2, 1983, Air Canada Flight 797, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32, of Canadian Registry C-FTLU, was a regularly scheduled international passenger flight from Dallas, Texas, to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with an en route stop at Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The flight left Dallas with 5 crewmembers and 41 passengers on board. About 1903, eastern daylight time, while en route at flight level 330 (about 33,000 feet m.s.l.1, the cabin crew discovered a fire in the aft lavatory. After contacting air traffic control (ATC) and declaring an emergency, the crew made an emergency descent, and ATC vectored Flight 797 to the Greater Cincinnati International Airport, Covington, Kentucky. At 1920:09, eastern daylight time, Flight 797 landed on runway 27L at the Greater Cincinnati International Airport. As the pilot stopped the airplane, the airport fire department, which had been alerted by the tower of the fire on board the incoming plane, was in place and began firefighting operations. Also, as soon as the airplane stopped, the flight attendants and passengers opened the left and right forward doors, the left forward overwing exit, and the forward and aft right overwing exits. About 60 to 90 seconds after the exits were opened; a flash fire enveloped the airplane interior. While 18 passengers and 3 flight attendants exited through the forward doors and slides and the three overwing exits to evacuate the airplane, the captain and first officer exited through their respective cockpit sliding windows. However, 23 passengers were not able to get out of the plane and died in the fire. The airplane was destroyed ”

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