NTSB Identification: DCA96MA054.
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Scheduled 14 CFR VALUJET AIRLINES INC
Accident occurred Saturday, May 11, 1996 in MIAMI, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Douglas DC-9-32, registration: N904VJ
Injuries: 110 Fatal.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane crashed into the Everglades about 10 minutes after takeoff from Miami International Airport. Safety issues discussed in the Board's report include minimization of the hazards posed by fires in class D cargo compartments; equipment, training, and procedures for addressing in-flight smoke and fire aboard air carrier airplanes; guidance for handling of chemical oxygen generators and other hazardous aircraft components; SabreTech's and ValuJet's procedures for handling company materials and hazardous materials; ValuJet's oversight of its contract heavy maintenance facilities; FAA's oversight of ValuJet and ValuJet's contract maintenance facilities; FAA's and the Research and Special Programs Administration's (RSPA) hazardous materials program and undeclared hazardous materials in the U.S. mail; and ValuJet's procedures for boarding and accounting for lap children. Safety recommendations concerning these issues were made to the FAA, RSPA, the U.S. Postal Service, and the Air Transport Association. (See NTSB Report AAR-97/06)

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

which resulted from a fire in the airplane's class D cargo compartment that was initiated by the actuation of one or more oxygen generators being improperly carried as cargo, were (1) the failure of SabreTech to properly prepare, package, and identify unexpended chemical oxygen generators before presenting them to ValuJet for carriage; (2) the failure of ValuJet to properly oversee its contract maintenance program to ensure compliance with maintenance, maintenance training, and hazardous materials requirements and practices; and (3) the failure of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require smoke detection and fire suppression systems in class D cargo compartments. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the FAA to adequately monitor ValuJet's heavy maintenance programs and responsibilities, including ValuJet's oversight of its contractors, and SabreTech's repair station certificate; the failure of the FAA to adequately respond to prior chemical oxygen generator fires with programs to address the potential hazards; and ValuJet's failure to ensure that both ValuJet and contract maintenance facility employees were aware of the carrier's 'no-carry' hazardous materials policy and had received appropriate hazardous materials training. (NTSB Report AAR-97/06)

Full narrative available

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