Fuel leak may be cause of Taiwan plane explosion in Japan
Source: | 2007-08-24 12:08:55

Boeing and U.S. aviation experts began investigating Wednesday why a China Airlines aircraft exploded minutes after landing at an airport in southern Japan earlier this week. They are focusing on a suspected fuel leak.

Witnesses at Naha Airport on Japan's southern island Okinawa said they saw the explosion after seeing fuel leaking from an engine. Initial checks by Japanese investigators and China Airlines indicate that a pipe in the right-wing engine was leaking fuel and caused a fire.

The black box has been sent to Tokyo for readings. It is expected to shed some light onto a host of questions, including why the fire burned to the left wing after the fuel started leaking on the right.

Japanese experts suspect the fuel leakage was due to problems in the design of the Boeing 737-800 or inappropriate maintenance of the craft.

Airplane maker Boeing has sent a team of five experts to Naha. They are expected to tear the plane apart to reach a conclusion on why the fuel was leaking.

The explosion occurred at the plane's belly, making it possible for passengers to help each other escape at either end. All passengers on board managed to leave the aircraft within 94 seconds.

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