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Accident Report Detail

Uncontained Engine Failure/Fire Valujet Airlines Flight 597 Douglas DC-9-31, N908VJ

Executive Summary

On June 8, 1995, a Douglas DC-9-32, N908VJ, was being operated by ValuJet Airlines as a scheduled, domestic passenger flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121. Flight 597, destined for Miami, Florida, departed gate C25 at the William B. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, at 1855, and was cleared for takeoff on runway 27R at 1908. Five crewmembers and 57 passengers were on board.

As flight 597 began its takeoff roll, a "loud bang" was heard by the airplane occupants and air traffic control personnel. The right engine fire warning light illuminated, the flightcrew of a following airplane reported to the ValuJet crew that the right engine was on fire, and the takeoff was rejected. Shrapnel from the right engine penetrated the fuselage and the right engine main fuel line, and a cabin fire erupted. The airplane was stopped on the runway, and the captain ordered the evacuation of the airplane.

The flight attendant seated in the aft flight attendant jumpseat received serious puncture wounds from shrapnel and thermal injuries. Another flight attendant and five passengers received minor injuries. The pilots, the third flight attendant, and 52 passengers were not injured. The airplaneā€™s fuselage was destroyed.

The safety issues in this report include the clarity of operations specifications for repair stations, recordkeeping requirements for foreign repair stations, regulatory guidance concerning maintenance documentation, intent of "serviceable tags," independently powered public address systems on all transport-category airplanes, flight attendant training programs and manuals, enforcement of occupant restraint requirements, and cabin material/fire safety standards. Safety recommendations concerning these issues were addressed to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of Turk Hava Yollari maintenance and inspection personnel to perform a proper inspection of a 7th stage high compressor disk, thus allowing the detectable crack to grow to a length at which the disk ruptured, under normal operating conditions, propelling engine fragments into the fuselage; the fragments severed the right engine main fuel line, which resulted in a fire that rapidly engulfed the cabin area. The lack of an adequate recordkeeping system and the failure to use "process sheets" to document the step-by-step overhaul/inspection procedures contributed to the failure to detect the crack and, thus, to the accident.

Accident Location: Atlanta , GA    
Accident Date: 6/8/1995
Accident ID: ATL95MA106

Date Adopted: 7/30/1996
NTSB Number: AAR-96-03
NTIS Number: PB96-910403