Lufthansa A346 enroute on Jan 11th 2016, fumes on board

Last Update: June 6, 2019 / 22:23:41 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jan 11, 2016

Classification
Accident

Airline
Lufthansa

Flight number
LH-731

Destination
Munich, Germany

Aircraft Registration
D-AIHH

Aircraft Type
Airbus A340-600

ICAO Type Designator
A346

A Lufthansa Airbus A340-600, registration D-AIHH performing flight LH-731 (scheduled dep Jan 10th, actual dep Jan 11th) from Hong Kong (China) to Munich (Germany), was enroute when fumes were noticed on board, followed by a number of flight attendants reporting feeling unwell with dizziness, head ache, eye and throat irritation. The flight continued to Munich for a safe landing on schedule. After landing the affected crew members went to undergo medical examinations, one passenger also reported sick as result of the fumes during the flight and went to see a doctor.

The occurrence aircraft remained on the ground for about 16 hours, then resumed service.

The Aviation Herald received information that following the return from Hong Kong the aircraft received new carpets and other textile equipment, the crew of the next flight was thus advised to expect associated smells including plastic smell during the first stages of flight.

The occurrence was the second of three consecutive flights encountering fumes and causing injuries to crew, see the prior flight to Hong Kong at Accident: Lufthansa A346 enroute on Jan 11th 2016, fumes on board and the subsequent flights to Dubai at Accident: Lufthansa A346 enroute on Jan 12th 2016, fumes on board.

On Jan 25th 2016 the BFU reported that after collecting data and information the occurrences of D-AIHH have been rated an incident, the BFU is not going to investigate the occurrences.

In May 2019 The Aviation Herald learned that three flight attendants received injuries which had them permanently unfit to fly. Lufthansa's Aeromedical Service reasoned the permanent unfitness to fly for all three is based on various medical issues following the fume event. For example in one case the Aeromedical Service cited multiple doctors' assessments and diagnosis (see scan below) which involved e.g. on Jul 12th 2016 and Oct 17th 2016: "Fume Event of 10.1.2016, illness of respiratory organs as result of chemical substances, gasses, smoke or fumes", on Apr 23rd 2016 and Jun 9th 2017, "aerotoxic syndrom after fume event", and also included a diagnosis issued on Oct 25th 2016: "complex problems' picture in the sense of a Chronic-Fatigue-Syndrome following fume event".

In 2018 another of the three flight attendants was diagnosed with "R92.2G abnormal results of respiratory checks", "J68.9G illness of respiratory organs by chemical substances, gasses, smoke or fumes, aerotoxic event 01/2016" and "cabin air event Jan 11th 2016 with persistent obstruction of diffusion and perfusion disorder in occupational spirometry", "T52.9G Toxic effect of non specified organic solvent", "D50.9A ruling out iron deficiency anaemia". The doctor states tests revealed diffusion capacity reduced to 54%, the patient did not report any changes of issues since 2016.

The industry funded statutory accident insurance for flying staff (BG Verkehr) in Germany told one of the three flight attendants: "Mit Verwaltungsakt vom 28.01.2016 wird das Ereignis vom 10.01.2016 als Arbeitsunfall anerkannt. Gleichzeitig werden Entschädigungsleistungen aus der gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung über den 12.01.2016 hinaus abgelehnt, da die von Ihnen geklagten Beschwerden ursächlich nicht mehr auf das angeschuldigte Ereignis zurückzuführen sind", translation: "With administrative act of Jan 28th 2016 the event of Jan 10th 2016 is being recognized as a work accident. At the same time any payments of damages out of the statutory accident insurance beyond Jan 12th 2016 are being turned down because the claimed heath issues can not be causally connected to the claimed event."

As result all three flight attendants are currently engaged in legal proceedings to get all their issues recognized as related to the work accident and get all damages related to the accident covered by the statutory accident insurance.

After receiving and verifying all of that information The Aviation Herald contacted Germany's Civil Aviation Authority (LBA) as well as Germany's Bundesstelle für Flugunfalluntersuchungen (BFU) on May 22nd 2019 advising both of them, we'd be publishing some of the medical results and the one letter by Lufthansa's Aeromedical Service and asked, whether the new results - that should already be known to both authorities for a long time - would change their position and trigger any investigation. On May 29th 2019 we queried, whether our mails had been received, which triggered a first reply by BFU stating they'd need time to review the case.

On Jun 3rd 2019 Germany's LBA told The Aviation Herald. "Ihre unten beschriebenen Informationen liegen uns nicht vor." (We do not have your information described below, quoting our original mail of May 22nd 2019 below).

On Jun 6th 2019 Germany's BFU reported: "Nach Auswertung und Beurteilung der zugesandten Daten kann ich Ihnen mitteilen, dass es sich für die BFU gem. der Gesetze und Regularien, hier das FlUUG von 1998 und der EUVO 996/2010 vom 20.10.2010, nicht um einen Unfall oder eine Schwere Störung handelt." (After evaluation and assessment of the transmitted data we can inform you, that for the BFU it is not an accident or serious incident according to the laws and regulations, here the FlUUG of 1998 and EUVO 996/2010 of Oct 20th 2010).

The BFU thus did not open an investigation even with the added health data and medical assessments.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jan 11, 2016

Classification
Accident

Airline
Lufthansa

Flight number
LH-731

Destination
Munich, Germany

Aircraft Registration
D-AIHH

Aircraft Type
Airbus A340-600

ICAO Type Designator
A346

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