The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has begun an investigation into a Qantas cargo flight which dropped 20,000ft while flying over Narrandera in New South Wales on Wednesday.
As this was a freight service there were no passengers onboard the Boeing 737 aircraft.
According to the ATSB, the flight’s “air depressurisation” will be investigated, which resulted in a reduction of cabin pressure.
A statement from the ATSB on the review said:
The ATSB is investigating an air depressurisation and crew incapacitation involving a B737, VH-XMO, near Narrandera NSW, 15 August 2018.
During the cruise, the crew of the cargo flight received a wing body overheat warning resulting in a reduction of cabin pressure.
The crew donned oxygen and descended to 20,000 ft. The First Officer was subsequently incapacitated and the Captain descended to 8,000 ft and diverted the aircraft to Canberra.
As part of the investigation, the ATSB will collect and examine information on the aircraft’s flight data recorders and interview maintenance and flight crew.
A final report will be released at the end of the investigation.
Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify those affected and seek safety action to address the issue.
Commenting on the incident, a Qantas spokesperson said: “The Boeing 737 freighter diverted into Canberra on Wednesday night following a fault with the onboard air conditioning system that affected the ability to maintain pressure in the cabin.
“The aircraft landed normally in Canberra and the pilots went to hospital as a precaution.
“We are conducting an investigation into the incident.”