NTSB Identification: FTW96RA039
Incident occurred Tuesday, November 07, 1995 in PANAMA CITY, Panama
Aircraft: BOEING B727-224, registration: N79750
Injuries: 2 Minor,10 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On November 7, 1995, at approximately 0900 central standard time, a Boeing 727-224, N70750, on the ramp at Panama City, Panama, sustained substantial thermal damage. Of the 3 crew members, 3 security agents, and 4 cleaning personnel none received injuries and there were no passengers onboard. One ground cargo handler received minor injuries and 1 fireman received minor thermal injuries. The Continental Airlines Flight 777, operated under Title 14 CFR Part 121, filed an IFR flight plan for Houston Intercontinental Airport, at Houston, Texas.

According to representatives of the operator, the transportation of 1,200 kilos (2,800 pounds) of phosphorus matches was authorized via Continental Airlines. The total portion of the shipment that had been loaded into cargo bins #3 and 4 prior to the fire eruption is under examination. Two/thirds of the panels in bins #3 and 4 were damaged. Thermal destruction in the #3 bin extended through the upper cargo panels and sooting was found on the flight control cables, system lines, electrical bundles, and cargo door seal. Structural beams exhibited blisters in the paint and cadmium areas. Pending the outcome of the investigation, the operator has discontinued the acceptance of hazardous material cargo from Latin American Countries.

According to the captain, he had received IOE check from a line captain (check airman) during the inbound trip to Panama City. They had remained onboard to discuss the flight and reprogram the OMEGA for the departing flight. Subsequently, 3 security agents, 1 dog, and 4 cleaning personnel remained on board as the crew waited in the jetway. When the crew observed smoke appearing from the right wing area, the captains returned to the cockpit, turned off the APU and fired 1 bottle of extinguishing agent. As the cockpit filed with smoke, the captains and other personnel exited the airplane. Observing the smoke, an airport tower controller notified ARFF personnel who arrived at the airplane within 60 seconds and observed fire at the cargo bins and on the ramp.

The Government of Panama has authorized the operator to conduct a nonpressurized ferry flight to Houston, Texas. Prior to that flight, airplane system and structural testing will be conducted.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Panama. Any further information may be obtained from:

Direccion de Aeronautica Civil, Edificio de Diego Num. 98, 1er Piso, Calle 40 y Avenida Balboa, Apartados 7501 y 7615, Panama 5

This report is for informational purposes only and contains only information released by or obtained for the Government of Panama.

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