An Air France Boeing 777-300ER enroute from Beijing to Paris returned to Beijing after an explosion onboard purportedly sent passengers scrambling.
Onboard Explosion On Air France 777-300ER, Smoke, Burning Smell Prompts Diversion
Air France 393 had left Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) at 3:45am and was enroute to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), a journey of just under 11 hours.
Just after takeoff, a loud explosion occurred onboard and a burning smell permeated the rear of the economy class cabin. Passengers onboard first reported a “whistling sound similar to wind blowing through the window” and five minutes later a bang that sent “small flying flakes” through the cabin.
Flight attendants pinpointed the smell to row 52 and ripped seat cushions away in an effort to locate the source of the explosion. With fire extinguishers in hand, they pulled off an air vent, but could find no fire. Despite the lack of flames, the smell worsened and the captain decided to divert, turning the plane around back toward Beijing and declaring a mayday.
“Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, Air France 393, we have fire on board, we are turning left to land back on 36 left, immediate landing, fire on board.”
The aircraft, a 17-year-old 777 registered under F-GSQD, arrived back in Beijing at 4:00am despite a full tank of fuel onboard.
As the plane landed and taxied to a waiting crew of emergency officials, cabin temperatures began to rise and the smell worsened. Some passengers reported black smoke onboard. Even so, passengers were not evacuated by emergency slide but in a conventional way.
While Air France has only blamed the diversion on a “technical incident,” initial reports suggest a ruptured air conditioning duct was the source of the burning smell.
Air France promptly dispatched another aircraft for Beijing and the full flight of over 300 passengers will shortly be heading for Paris.
A cabin fire on Air France flight AF393, which was scheduled to take off from Beijing to Paris on Sat morning, sent the plane back to the Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing Daily reported. No injuries have been reported and the airline has not revealed detailed info. pic.twitter.com/nfnBDprgyj
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) September 18, 2021
An Air France 777-300ER was forced to divert after an explosion occurred onboard shortly after takeoff and the cabin filled with a burning smell. No passengers were injured and Air France has yet to explain the precise reason behind the incident.
(H/T: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)