FAA official documentation as to the reasons for the China Airlines 737-800 mishap:
EMERGENCY AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVE
Aircraft Certification Service
We post Emergency ADs on the internet at "www.faa.gov"
ISSUE DATE: August 25, 2007
AD 2007-18-51; Docket No. FAA-2007-29089; Directorate Identifier 2007-NM-214-AD
Emergency airworthiness directive (AD) 2007-18-51 is sent to all owners and operators of
Boeing Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series airplanes.
We have received reports of parts of the main slat track downstop assembly coming off the
main slat track. In one case, a nut fell into the slat track housing (referred to as “slat can”) and, during
a subsequent slat retraction, the track made contact with the nut, pushing it into the wall of the can and
puncturing it. That operator reported finding fuel leaking from the drain hole in the slat track housing
at the No. 5 slat track position. In another case, an initial investigation revealed that following
retraction of the slats after landing on a Model 737-800 airplane, loose parts of the main slat track
downstop assembly punctured the slat can, which resulted in a fuel leak and a fire that ultimately
destroyed the airplane.
Loose or missing parts from the main slat track downstop assemblies, if not detected and
corrected, could result in a fuel leak and consequent fire.
(c) This AD applies to all Boeing Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, -900, and -900ER series
airplanes, certificated in any category.
(a) Emergency airworthiness directive (AD) 2007-18-51, issued on August 25, 2007, is
effective immediately upon receipt.
What a true blessing that nobody was hurt!