Monday, July 28, 2008

US aviation agency warned of oxygen tank danger months before Qantas emergency landing



By KRISTEN GELINEAU,
Associated Press Writer.

A directive shows the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration warned airlines to inspect oxygen cylinders on their planes months before the dramatic mid-air emergency last week aboard a Qantas flight that investigators suspect was caused by an exploding tank.

The air-worthiness directive, issued in April and effective in May, followed a report that certain oxygen cylinder supports in Boeing 747-400s may not have been properly heat-treated, which the FAA says could cause oxygen leakage and subsequent fire hazards.

Australian authorities say investigators are focusing on an oxygen bottle missing from the cargo hold of the Qantas 747-400 that was ripped open at 29,000 feet (8,800 meters) over the South China Sea on Friday.

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