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Mon 4 Apr 2011 09:52 AM

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Lithium batteries blamed for fatal UPS plane crash

Report into Dubai crash that killed two says cargo should have been treated as hazardous

Lithium batteries blamed for fatal UPS plane crash
CRASH SITE: Emergency services attend the site of the UPS cargo plane which crashed in an unpopulated area of Dubai. (ITP Images)

Lithium
batteries onboard a UPS plane that crashed in Dubai last year should have been
declared hazardous cargo, a report by the UAE’s civil aviation authority said.  

The
Boeing 747 was carrying flammable batteries that were “distributed throughout
the cargo decks” while “lithium ion battery packs” should have been singled out
and handled as hazardous cargo, newswire UKPA said, citing the report.

The UPS
plane, on its way from Hong Kong, crashed near Dubai’s airport on September 3
last year. The two pilots on board struggled to land the plane amid thick smoke
and low emergency oxygen. Both were killed.

The
report, which does not identify the cause of the fire, is expected to raise questions
about the shipment of batteries, the newswire said. Lithium batteries can
short-circuit and cause fires hot enough to melt a plane.

The US
House of Representatives on Friday approved an aviation bill that includes
provisions to block a new set of tougher rules that includes provisions to crack
down on the transport of lithium batteries.

Mike
Mangeot, a USP spokesman, told UKPA that the firm is revaluating cockpit
emergency oxygen systems on their planes and examining safely technologies.

Although
there were no hazardous cargo declarations on the flight's manifest, at least
three of the shipments contained rechargeable lithium battery packs that should
have been treated as hazardous cargo under international shipping regulations,
said the report.

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