"We Believe That Caused Fuel To Leak Out"
The multi-national team of
investigators searching for answers to Monday's China Airlines 737
explosion found not only a hole in the right fuel tank, but the
bolt that pierced it Thursday.
The Boeing 737-800 exploded shortly after landing at Okinawa's
Naha airport in southern Japan, as ANN reported.
The bolt, from the right wing slat, punched a hole roughly one
and a half inches in diameter, said Kazushige Daiki, chief
investigator at Japan's Aircraft and Railway Accidents
"The bolt pierced through the fuel tank, and we believe that
caused fuel to leak out," Daiki said.
A fuel leak of some sort was immediately suspected as ground
workers witnessed a large amount of fuel leaking
from the right engine while the jet was taxiing to the
As much as 5,500 pounds of fuel is suspected of having leaked,
according to the Associated Press.
An earlier suspicion of damage to the pylon connecting the
engine to the right wing has been pretty much ruled out, ministry
spokesman Yusuke Asakura said.
Upon hearing of the findings, Japan's Transport Ministry ordered
three Japanese airlines which own Boeing 737-800s to inspect the
bolt in question as well as the slats before their next flights
Friday, said Asakura.
The Kyodo News Agency quoted Japanese transport officials as
saying Boeing had received several reports of similar cases in Dec.
2005 and went so far as to advise airlines to inspect these areas
on their 737-800s.
Mark Hooper, Boeing spokesperson, refused to confirm or deny the
report, as the "investigation has not concluded."