Fueling Mishaps

Know About: Fueling Mishaps
The following information was sent to NATA via Air BP. The following is a recap of a Boeing 777 refueling fire:

BA Plane Fire Kills Worker
An airport worker died in a fireball as a British Airways flight from London was refueled.

Sixteen crew members and some of the 215 passengers were still on board the plane at Denver Airport, Colorado, when spilled aviation fuel ignited. All were safely evacuated.

Investigation
A British Airways spokesman told Sky News Online: “Quite a significant amount of fuel spilled; it could have been in the range of 100 gallons. The refueller took the full force of the fire and it took about 10 minutes to extinguish the fire.”

The spokesman said it was investigating both the cause of the fuel spillage and why it ignited. “It’s not natural for aircraft fuel to just ignite,” he said.

One eyewitness said: “The flames within seconds were 20 feet high. I was afraid it was going to blow up. I can’t imagine the panic if you were aboard the plane.”

Burns
The victim has been named as 24-year-old Joao Rodrigues, a contractor for Airline Services International Group, which refuels BA planes in Denver.

He was taken to Colorado Hospital, but suffered second and third degree burns over 90 per cent of his body.

Passenger Bruce Gilley said: “He was in flames and running away from the plane.”

Police
It is not clear whether the plane itself was damaged in the blaze. It did not experience any problems landing.

BA said it was working closely with local police, the US Federal Aviation Administration and America’s National Transport Safety Board.

The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Board has also been informed.

The plane was taken out of service and the 215 passengers due to fly from Denver to Gatwick were transferred to alternative flights.

Update
September 11, 2001; Mr. Rodrigues, the fueler who was burned over 90% of his body passed away yesterday. He leaves behind a 4 1/2-year-old son — our prayers are with his family.