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NTSB Hearings in Washington D.C.
July 12-13-2006 click for information
(CNN) -- A UPS cargo plane made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport early Wednesday after a fire broke out on board.
Flames were seen coming from the cargo area of the DC-8 when it landed.
UPS Flight 1307 landed at 12:22 a.m. "after reporting a lower cargo and main deck smoke situation," the company said in a written statement.
It took emergency responders more than four hours to douse the fire, said Mark Giuffre, a spokesman for UPS.
The airport, which is usually open 24 hours per day, was shut when the plane landed, and was slated to reopen at 6 a.m., using only three of its four runways, he said. "The fire's been put out; they're just checking the aircraft now."
The plane's three crew members were taken to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, where they were treated for smoke inhalation. Giuffre said they were released by 4 a.m. "They're all OK and safe," he said.
He added that the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate.
The plane was on a regularly scheduled Atlanta-to-Philadelphia flight.
With a fleet of 269 jet aircraft and 305 chartered aircraft, UPS is the world's ninth-largest airline. It has never had a crash, Giuffre said.
In 2004, the company delivered 3.6 billion packages and documents in more than 200 countries and territories, according to its Web site.
The National Transportation Safety Board has decided to hold a two-day hearing to consider safety hazards regarding the transport of cargo such as lithium batteries.
The hearing is in connection to a recent fire on a United Parcel Service plane that was carrying lithium batteries. Investigators have not said whether the batteries played a role in the fire.
At the hearing, which will be held July 12 and 13 in Washington, D.C., officials from the NTSB, Federal Aviation Administration, UPS, Boeing and the Independent Pilots Association, the union that represents UPS pilots, will gather information about rescue and response to the UPS fire, the design and testing of lithium batteries, regulations concerning the shipment of the batteries, and aircraft fire detection and suppression systems.
"The public hearing will focus on an accident that occurred on a cargo plane that caught fire while carrying potentially dangerous goods," Deborah Hersman, an NTSB board member that will chair the hearing, said in a news release. "We will examine this topic to determine what needs to be done to protect the crew, the aircraft and the cargo on these types of flights."
On Feb. 8, the UPS plane landed at Philadelphia International Airport after the crew reported seeing smoke. The three crew members received minor injuries, and the fire caused major damage to the plane and its cargo.
NTSB information Link
The aircraft made an emergency landing shortly after midnight when the crew smelled smoke in the main cargo deck. The three-member crew scrambled to get off the aircraft as soon as it touched down and all got off safely. The plane then burst into flames, and burned for hours. The airport reopened around 6 a.m.
UPS Flight 1307 took off from Atlanta, and was headed to Philadelphia when the trouble started. The plane was loaded with packages to be delivered in our area. There were no passengers on the airplane.
"There were no injuries, however, three crewmembers went to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital for observation," said Mark Pesce, an airport spokesman. After the fire was put out, there were gaping holes in the body of the aircraft. The plane was towed to the UPS lot.
Fifteen investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are looking into the cause of the fire. They said they plan to interview the flight crew and will eventually scour the plane for clues. "We are making sure that we are able to enter the plane safely before we will be able to truly examine the interior of the plane. We want to ensure that there is no remaining danger to any of the NTSB staff," said Ellen Engleman Conners, of the NTSB.
The plane's cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder are in good condition. They have both been sent to NTSB headquarters for examination.
UPS released this statement about the fire: "It would be premature to discuss the cause of this incident. An investigation is being conducted by the NTSB and UPS will cooperate fully in that investigation." It can take a year or longer for the NTSB to issue a report on its findings.