In its continuing investigation to determine the cause of the June 28, 2008, fire that burned a hole through the top of the fuselage of an ABX Air Boeing 767 cargo airplane parked at San Francisco International Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board has developed the following factual information:
The primary location of the fire was outside the cargo hold in an area just aft of the cockpit. The fire was extinguished by San Francisco Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting, but not before causing substantial damage to the aircraft. The flight crew of two, who were preparing to start the engines when the fire broke out, escaped from the aircraft without injury.
The NTSB dispatched a team of five investigators to the accident scene. Joining them were representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Transportation Security Administration; the Federal Aviation Administration; the San Francisco Fire Department; and Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting. NTSB investigators have worked closely with all of these groups throughout the process of examining and documenting the fire damage to the aircraft.
After the NTSB was notified of the fire, it was reported that within a week prior to the accident, the cargo carrier had received a threat against an unspecified aircraft. Preliminary examinations have not revealed any indication of an explosive or incendiary device.
The 21-year-old aircraft was originally configured for passenger operations and modified in 2004 to a cargo configuration by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The Israel Ministry of Transport has designated an accredited representative to the investigation under the provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13. IAI will serve as a technical adviser to the accredited representative.
NTSB investigators interviewed both members of the flight crew yesterday. The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder are at NTSB headquarters in Washington where data from each is being analyzed.
The NTSB team anticipates completing the on-scene phase of the investigation by Sunday, July 6.
Parties to the investigation are the Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, ABX Air, the San Francisco Fire Department, the San Francisco Airport Authority, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Fire damage in area aft of cockpit - Larger photo at http://www.ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2008/images/ABX_Fire_1.jpg
Fire damage in area aft of cockpit - Larger photo at http://www.ntsb.gov/Pressrel/2008/images/ABX_Fire_2.jpg