NTSB Identification: CHI90FA278.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44799.
Scheduled 14 CFR operation of NORTHWEST AIRLINES, INC.
Accident occurred Friday, September 28, 1990 in DETROIT, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/12/1993
Aircraft: BOEING 727-251, registration: N278US
Injuries: 2 Serious,2 Minor,128 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

FOUR PASSENGERS WERE INJURED DURING THE EMERGENCY EVACUATION FOLLOWING AN APU FIRE. THE CREW REPORTED THE APU FIRE BELL WHILE TAXIING. THE CAPT. ELECTED TO EVACUATE, BUT DID NOT INDICATE THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM TO EITHER THE CABIN ATTENDANTS OR PASSENGERS. SEVERAL PASSENGERS USED THE OVERWING EXITS ON THE SAME SIDE AS THE FIRE AND WERE INJURED JUMPING OFF THE WING. ONE SAID THAT THE WING FLAPS WERE NOT LOWERED DURING THE EVACUATION. THE APU HAD BEEN PLACARDED INOPERATIVE PRIOR TO THE FLIGHT. CREW ADVISED IN WRITING. THE COCKPIT VOICE RECORDER TAPE WAS ERASED IN THE COCKPIT AFTER THE ACCIDENT, SO THE FLIGHT CREW'S ACTIVITIES WERE NOT ABLE TO BE REVIEWED. POST ACCIDENT EXAMINATION OF THE APU REVEALED THAT THE FIRE STARTED BECAUSE OF AN ATTEMPTED START OF THE DEFECTIVE UNIT. PRIOR TO THE FLIGHT, NWA MAINTENANCE ATTEMPTED TO MAKE THE APU INOPERABLE FROM THE COCKPIT BY OPENING CIRCUIT BREAKERS. THE WRONG CIRCUIT BREAKER WAS FULLED, LEAVING THE APU OPERABLE.

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

THE INTENTIONAL ACTIVATION OF THE AUXILLARY POWER UNIT BY THE FLIGHT ENGINEER, AND THE IMPROPER EVACUATION PROCEDURES BY THE PILOT IN COMMAND. AN ASSOCIATED FACTOR IN THE ACCIDENT WAS THE APU CIRCUIT BREAKERS WERE NOT PULLED BY COMPANY MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL.

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