Related Accidents

The accidents listed below all involved fuel tank breeches, or fuel line failures, followed by a landing or rejected takeoff. While this listing is not comprehensive, the accidents below have been selected in order to underscore the ground fire hazards associated with fuel tank breeches or fuel line failures with massive, unrestricted fuel leakage in the vicinity of ignition sources such as engine tailpipes or hot brakes.

Photo of Flight 227 wreckage following ground fire
Photo of Flight 227 wreckage following ground fire
Photo of ONA flight 32 following engine failure on takeoff
Photo of ONA flight 32 following engine failure on takeoff
Wreckage of Flight 603 following takeoff about and resulting ground fire
Wreckage of Flight 603 following takeoff about
and resulting ground fire

United Airlines Flight 227, Salt Lake City Municipal Airport, Salt Lake City, Utafh, November 11, 1965, Boeing 727-200

During an attempted landing at Salt Lake Municiple Airport, the pilot was unable to arrest an excessive sink rate during the approach. The airplane touched down with a very high vertical speed approximately 335 feet short of the runway. The main landing gear failed, severing fuel lines and electrical cables within the fuselage, which resulted in a massive fuel leak and fire. Of the 91 passengers and crew on board, there were 43 fatalities all determined to be due to the effects of the fire.

Overseas National Airlines Flight 32, John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, November 12, 1975, McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-30

During takeoff roll, the right engine experienced an uncontained failure resulting in a fuel-fed fire in the engine. The takeoff was aborted but the airplane overran the runway and burned, largely due to pooled fuel around the airplane. All passengers and crew successfully evacuated the airplane and there were no fatalities.

Continental Airlines Flight 603, Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California, March 1, 1978, McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10

During the takeoff roll, three main landing gear tires on Flight 603 failed, prompting the captain to initiated a takeoff abort. The speed that Flight 603 had reached at the time of the tire failures was very near V1. A combination of the wet runway and multiple tire failures resulted in the airplane sliding off the end of the runway, causing failure of the main landing gear, tank penetration, and a fuel leak from the left side of the airplane. The leaking fuel was ignited by hot surfaces from the engines, brakes, or other areas of the aircraft. The resulting fire consumed much of the airplane. Of the 184 passengers and 14 crew, there were two fatalities, and several serious injuries.

Photo of Pacific Western Flight 501
Pacific Western Flight 501
Photo of British Airtours Flight KT28M fuselage
Photo of British Airtours Flight KT28M fuselage

Pacific Western Flight 501, Calgary International Airport, Canada, March 22, 1984, Boeing Model 737-275


At approximately 70 knots during the takeoff roll, the compressor section of the left engine failed. Debris from the failed engine exited the engine case and penetrated the airplane, including the left wing main fuel tank. The flight crew aborted the takeoff and stopped the airplane on a taxiway adjacent to the runway. Leaking fuel from the left wing immediately ignited and engulfed the left side of the airplane in flames. All passengers and crew successfully evacuated the burning airplane, although there were several serious injuries.

British Air Tours Flight KT28M, Manchester International Airport, United Kingdom, August 22, 1985, Boeing Model 737-236

During takeoff roll, debris from an uncontained engine failure struck and penetrated the left wing fuel tank access panel. Failure of this panel resulted in a massive fuel leak which was ignited by the left engine. A successful RTO was conducted, and the airplane exited the runway and parked on a taxiway. Once parked, the fire spread to the airplane where it was totally destroyed. Fifty-five passengers died in the fire.

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