Accident Board Findings

From the AAIB Accident Report No: 8/88:

The British Aircraft Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) concluded that the cause of the accident was an uncontained failure of the left engine, initiated by a failure of the No. 9 combustor can which had been the subject of a repair. A section of the combustor can, which was ejected forcibly from the engine, struck and fractured an under-wing fuel tank access panel. The fire which resulted developed catastrophically, primarily because of adverse orientation of the parked airplane relative to the wind, even though the wind was light. Major contributory factors were the vulnerability of the wing-tank access panels to impact, a lack of any effective provision for fighting major fires inside the airplane cabin, the vulnerability of the airplane hull to external fire, and the extremely toxic nature of the emissions from the burning interior materials. The major cause of the fatalities was rapid incapacitation due to the inhalation of the dense
toxic/irritant smoke atmosphere within the cabin, aggravated by evacuation delays caused by a forward right door malfunction and restricted access to the exits.

The AAIB developed 106 findings from this accident. The complete accident report, including these findings, can be found at the following link (AAIB Accident Report No: 8/88).

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