[quote]Oxygen masks ‘failed to work’ on damaged Qantas flight
It’s been revealed that frantic passengers struggled to use faulty oxygen masks as Qantas flight QF30 dropped 5791.20m when an explosion ripped a hole in the plane’s fuselage.
QF30 was on its way to Melbourne from London via Hong Kong and was due to arrive in Melbourne on Friday evening.
Passengers arriving at Melbourne International Airport yesterday told of desperate attempts to put their passports in their pockets in case the plane crashed, of children turning blue as their mothers frantically tried to fit their oxygen masks, and of 10 minutes of sheer terror as the plane dived.
As passengers were reunited with loved ones, aviation experts offered several theories about possible causes of the mid-air explosion, including:
• Oxygen cylinders rupturing;
• corrosion and weakening of the plane’s aluminium skin, making it susceptible to bursting under the enormous pressure of cruising at altitude;
• a deliberate or accidental explosion caused by something in a passenger’s luggage.
However, a source close to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said exploding oxygen cylinders were the likely cause of the rupture, and would be the main focus of the investigation, as they were stored in the exact location of the explosion and there were no signs of fire.
St Kilda architect David Saunders described the moments after the explosion as utter panic.
“The oxygen masks were f––d,” Mr Saunders told The Sunday Age at Melbourne International Airport, after an emotional reunion with his mother and sister.
“The elastic was so old that it had deteriorated. I was trying to get my passport, and every time I got my passport the mask fell off and I started to pass out.”
In some parts of the cabin, the masks didn’t drop down at all, he said.
"A guy just went into a panic and smashed the whole panel off the ceiling to get to the mask.
“The kids were screaming and flailing. Their cheeks and lips were turning blue from lack of oxygen.”
Another passenger, Paula Madejon, said she had to share her mask with two other people, and, in the row behind her, nobody had a mask.[/quote]