NTSB Identification: SEA98IA027.
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Scheduled 14 CFR UNITED AIRLINES
Incident occurred Thursday, December 25, 1997 in EUGENE, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/10/1998
Aircraft: Boeing 737-522, registration: N918UA
Injuries: 105 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

After the airplane had taxied to and stopped at the gate, the jetway was positioned to the 1 left door. While the passengers were beginning to deplane, the captain positioned the fuel levers to the 'cutoff' position. Ground power had not yet been connected and the airplane went dark. The captain then repositioned the fuel levers to the 'idle' position. Immediately following this action, ground personnel noticed smoke coming from the number two engine and notified the flight crew of a fire. The captain ordered an evacuation and began the checklist procedures. When the flight crew reached the position of the fuel levers step in the checklist, the captain noticed that the fuel levers were in the 'idle' position. The captain then positioned the fuel levers to the 'cutoff' position. The smoke began to dissipate from the engine and the all clear signal was given by the ground crew. After the smoke dissipated, the captain cancelled the evacuation. Approximately 20 passengers had deplaned via the 2 right slide to the ground. Another 10 to 20 passenger went out the over wing exit. Maintenance personnel inspected the engine and reported that there was no indication of an actual fire, and suspected that when the fuel lever was positioned to the 'idle' position, the fuel valve opened and jet fuel was injected into the hot decelerating engine.

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

A checklist procedure was not followed. The initiation of an evacuation was a factor.

Full narrative available

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