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article imageQantas pilots put out cockpit fire in mid-flight emergency

By Kimberley Pollock     Mar 23, 2011 in Travel
Cairns - Qantas' safety woes continue with a Qantas Airbus flying from the Philippines to Sydney being forced to land at Cairns after two fires broke out in the plane's cockpit.
The flames on the flight deck of the Airbus A330-200 were initially dowsed by the automatic safety systems, but within minutes the fire began again. This time one of the three pilots used an extinguisher to manually put out the fire.
"Qantas said the blaze was caused by an electrical problem in the system that heats the windscreen, the same fault that forced a Jetstar A330-200 en route from Japan to Australia to land on the Pacific island of Guam in 2009", reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Qantas has reported the incident to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and praised the pilots for their quick action, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. ''The pilots did a fantastic job to bring the situation under control and calmly redirected the plane to Cairns Airport for a standard, but unscheduled, landing,'' said a Qantas spokesperson.
A 56-year-old passenger on board the flight also praised the pilots for their action but also described the incident as "scary." "Whenever you hear a pilot talk about a fire on a plane it's truly scary. Clearly the incident could have been catastrophic," the man said in Fairfax media reports.
In the last few years Qantas has been plagued by safety scares, including an incident earlier this year when one of its planes plummeting 25,000 feet mid-flight and the grounding of its fleet of A380 planes after one of its Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines exploded in mid-air in 2010.
The string of safety incidents has seen many reports claiming that Qantas has well and truly lost its reputation as 'the safest airline in the world'.
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