Lufthansa B744 at Denver and Frankfurt on Oct 20th 2017 and Oct 21st 2017, fumes on board, passengers and cabin crew unwell

Last Update: October 26, 2017 / 13:56:08 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 20, 2017

Classification
Accident

Airline
Lufthansa

Flight number
LH-447

Aircraft Registration
D-ABVW

Aircraft Type
Boeing 747-400

ICAO Type Designator
B744

A Lufthansa Boeing 747-400, registration D-ABVW performing flight LH-447 (dep. Oct 18th, arr Oct 19th) from Denver,CO (USA) to Frankfurt/Main (Germany), was preparing for departure from Denver with a delay of about one hour. While the engines were started an odour of dirty old socks developed on board, the departure preparations were continued and the aircraft departed. The odour dissipated during climb out of Denver. The aircraft continued the flight to Frankfurt. During the descent into Frankfurt, about 15-30 minutes prior to landing, the odour occurred again. A number of passengers felt unwell, a number of cabin crew also felt unwell with headaches, nausea and eye irritations. The aircraft landed in Frankfurt about 9 hours after departure.

The same aircraft had a very similiar occurrence just two days earlier again as flight LH-447, see Accident: Lufthansa B744 at Denver and Frankfurt on Oct 18th 2017 and Oct 19th 2017, fumes on board, passengers and cabin crew unwell.

Germany's BFU told The Aviation Herald, that they have NOT been informed about this occurrence of Oct 21st 2017 (departure Oct 20th 2017), however, were notified only about the earlier occurrence of Oct 19th 2017 (departure Oct 18th 2017). The BFU reconfirmed this occurrence not having been reported to the BFU upon re-query by The Aviation Herald early Oct 26th 2017.

The Aviation Herald received information from an unusually high and worrying number of sources regarding this flight. The sources were unusually concerned about not being named (Editorial note: The Aviation Herald always applies source protection automatically unless the source requests to be identified in clearly written words).

Passengers reported they were waiting for boarding the flight when they received announcements of technical problems, maintenance was being carried out. They observed all cabin doors of the aircraft were opened. About one hour later boarding began, boarding went normally. The captain announced there had been a technical problem with the APU. A passenger believes the engines were then started without the use of the APU by an external power unit as the aircraft went completely dark for about a second during engine start. When the engines started an odour of cheesy, dirty old socks started which lasted for about 3-5 minutes before dissipating again. The flight went normal until about 15-30 minutes prior to landing, when the odour developed again, a number of passengers as well as cabin crew visibly felt unwell.

Additional sources told The Aviation Herald, that when the crew entered the aircraft to prepare it for flight LH-447, there was an acid strong odour of cheesy old dirty socks throughout the aircraft. The crew contacted maintenance who recommended to shut the APU down and open all cabin doors to ventilate the aircraft. The odour dissipated as result, and boarding commenced. During engine start the odour became penetrant again for about 5 minutes and dissipated again only to became apparent again during the descent into Frankfurt. This was the second occurrence on the same aircraft and same route within 2 days. The captain of the flight is reported to have claimed while on the ground in Denver that cabin crew were making up such odour reports but later into the flight admitted to have been smelling the odour, too. The captain reportedly informed maintenance to have the aircraft inspected after arrival in Frankfurt. Although neither member of the crew went to see a doctor following the flight (and consequently none went on sick leave), flight attendants still complain about dizziness, difficulties breathing (shortness of breath), oppressive feeling in the chest area, heachaches and numbness in arms and legs several days after the occurrence. LBA, BFU, pilot associations, cabin crew associations have been directly notified of the occurrence.

More additional sources reported that in both occurrences there had been health issues reported by both passengers and cabin crew including symptoms of paralysis, vomitting, anxiety, headache, nausea etc. as result of a strong chemical burning odour.

The occurrence aircraft remained on the ground for about 3 hours, then departed as scheduled flight LH-600 to Tehran (Iran).
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 20, 2017

Classification
Accident

Airline
Lufthansa

Flight number
LH-447

Aircraft Registration
D-ABVW

Aircraft Type
Boeing 747-400

ICAO Type Designator
B744

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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