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moriarty
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OZ 777 Crash Investigation: Fuel Handling?

Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:39 pm

Following the OZ 777 crash at SFO I came across a thought that I never before have pondered about.

I assume that there's plenty of fuel in the tanks of that airplane, or at least a significant amount of it. How does the investigators deal with this? I guess they do some investigation on site and need to be assured of their safety meanwhile. At some point the wreckage is moved to a hangar for further analysis. I can't think they want to bring fuel tanks not emptied or somehow neutralized into the hangars.

How does it work? Do they try to drain the tanks? I guess they also want to do as little as possible that might affect the parts thus preventing the investigators from discovering things relevant to the investigation.
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SAAFNAV
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RE: OZ 777 Crash Investigation: Fuel Handling?

Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:50 pm

In the preliminary investigation, the officer will make a judgement as to fuel was likely a main contribution, and judge accordingly.

In any event, fuel samples will be taken and must ALWAYS be stored in glass container.
Where wing tanks etc are ruptured, the fuel will flow everywhere. J-A1 is fortunately not highly combustive/explosive as is AVGAS, so the odds of accidental ignition is greatly reduced.

Preservation of evidence is paramount for any investigator, but the safety of the personnel and the wreckage before any more evidence is destroyed, supersedes that.

So, if enough representative samples has been taken, tanks may drilled open (with a hand drill) so that fuel can drain away, or be pumped out. The ARFF will also be on standby, and use their normal procedures to prevent environmental damage.

As a side note, one of the founding fathers of the Southern California Safety Institute also preached that during wreckage recovery, your wreck WILL get damage, and the damage will be restricted to the area you are most interested in.

Erich
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rfields5421
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RE: OZ 777 Crash Investigation: Fuel Handling?

Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:24 pm

I'm certain they pumped out/ drained the fuel Saturday overnight or Sunday morning.

Unless the tanks are completely intact with absolutely no fractures, leaks or damage - and then I still believe the tanks would be empty by now.

The documentation of the wreckage which used to take investigators several days, can be done now in just a very few hours with modern cameras and video equipment.

The last crash - USN T-2 - I had to document in 1978 - we took over 4,000 pictures of the crash scene. It took HOURS.
 
SAAFNAV
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RE: OZ 777 Crash Investigation: Fuel Handling?

Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:46 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 2):


The documentation of the wreckage which used to take investigators several days, can be done now in just a very few hours with modern cameras and video equipment.

Also with hand-held GPS recorders to map each piece and superimpose on a satellite image. TWA800 took months to map out.
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canoecarrier
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RE: OZ 777 Crash Investigation: Fuel Handling?

Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:14 pm

I'd add that if any fuel leaked out of the tanks before the plane was moved they likely will have to do a site cleanup. Meaning, they could have to dig up all the contaminated dirt and dispose of it at a licensed facility. Sometimes that means incineration. There may be some concerns because the site is so close to the Bay.
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moriarty
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RE: OZ 777 Crash Investigation: Fuel Handling?

Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:18 am

Thank you for the kind and informative answers. Pretty much what I'd expect but when in doubt, ask.  

I guess there's always a balance between safety and preservation of evidence, bur that security always have precedence.
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rfields5421
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RE: OZ 777 Crash Investigation: Fuel Handling?

Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:43 pm

From KGO TV in San Francisco - Friday morning

Quote:
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KGO) -- Overnight, thick smoke could be seen from site of the Asiana Airlines plane wreckage at San Francisco International Airport. The thick white smoke could be seen as crews worked to move debris from the plane. ABC7 News is now being told there was no fire, just heavy smoke caused by metal friction as crews cut the plane into smaller pieces.

Earlier this week an SFO spokesperson discussed that hazards crews would face in the cleanup. "We expect that there is going to be a lot of hazardous materials, jet fuel and hydraulic fluid that needs to be cleaned up in the area," said SFO Spokesperson Doug Yakel.

The fuselage of the plane was removed from the runway and work has started on repaving the runways and fixing the light system damaged in the crash.

So the fuel might not have been removed until last night.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?sec...on=news/local/peninsula&id=9170280
 
canoecarrier
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RE: OZ 777 Crash Investigation: Fuel Handling?

Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:03 pm

This being California, I would not be surprised as I said that they will require a future runway shutdown to clean up fuel that leaked into the soil. Now that we know some was still on board as late as yesterday.
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