The pilot of a US Boeing 747 cargo plane in flames was starved of oxygen and had to quit the flight deck in last September’s deadly crash near Dubai airport, Emirati investigators said Monday.
“A fire ignited onboard the aircraft’s main cargo deck after departure from Dubai,” said the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the United Arab Emirates in what it termed an updated preliminary report.
“Smoke and fumes in the flight deck… hindered the crew from managing the aircraft and the emergency situation,” it said. “There were failures of the aircraft?s air conditioning, oxygen and flight controls systems.”
Shortly after takeoff, the crew lost control of an attempted emergency landing because of their “inability to view flight instruments,” it said, leading to the crash in which the two crew members were killed.
“The captain experienced problems with the supply of oxygen to the oxygen mask which required the captain to leave his position on the flight deck,” the report said.
“To date the investigation has identified several areas to pursue in relation to identifying the root cause, the associated causal factors and the probable cause of this accident,” it said.
The United Parcel Service Boeing 747-400 caught fire shortly after takeoff from Dubai on September 3 and crashed.
US federal aviation authorities in September said lithium batteries carried on the aircraft may have played a role in the crash, while UAE investigators ruled out an onboard explosion that could be linked to a terror attack.
The GCAA has said “investigations carried out after recovery of all the information in the two black boxes showed that there was no evidence, either from conversations or data, of an explosion on board the airplane.”
Both pilots were killed when the aircraft crashed at a military base on the outskirts of Dubai.