On January 18, 2016, a TAM Linhas Aereas Airbus A320-200 was on a scheduled flight from Brasilia to Aracaju Brazil when the pilots decided to return to Brasilia. They made a safe landing and were in the air ten minutes short of an hour. Incident investigations always take time. So it was a couple weeks later, on Feb 5th when the BEA reported this notice. (Note that the BEA is Le Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation, France’s Governmental aviation authority.) The BEA reported Brazil’s CENIPA notice why the pilots decided to return.
The Airbus was climbing. Cabin crew told the flight crew that passengers and cabin crew were suffering from significant hypoxia. Hypoxia means inadequate oxygenation of the blood, or deficiency in the amount of oxygen delivered to the body tissues. Web MD says this about hypoxia:
“When your body doesn’t have enough oxygen, you could get hypoxemia or hypoxia. These are dangerous conditions. Without oxygen, your brain, liver, and other organs can be damaged just minutes after symptoms start.”
“Hypoxemia (low oxygen in your blood) can cause hypoxia (low oxygen in your tissues) when your blood doesn’t carry enough oxygen to your tissues to meet your body’s needs. The word hypoxia is sometimes used to describe both problems. Symptoms can vary from person to person, the most common hypoxia symptoms are Changes in the color of your skin, ranging from blue to cherry red, Confusion,Cough, Fast heart rate, Rapid breathing, Shortness of breath, Sweating, Wheezing. If you have symptoms of hypoxia, call 911.”
On the Tam flight in question, the flight crew manually released the passenger oxygen masks. After returning to Brasilia, the incident was rated serious. CENIPA is investigating. CENIPA’s acronym is in Portuguese: Centro de Investigação e Prevenção de Acidentes Aeronáuticos. CENIPA is a unit of the Brazilian Air Force that investigates aviation accidents and incidents in Brazil.
The flight under investigation was JJ-3538 flown by the Airbus registered as #PR-MAA on a standard flight from Brasilia,DF to Aracaju, SE in Brazil.
A JetBlue flight had to divert and make an emergency landing at LF Wade International Airport in Bermuda, on August 26th.
The incident happened when the Airbus A320, carrying 94 people, was heading from Boston to Puerto Rico.
According to a Department of Marine and Port Services report, “A 51-year-old female passenger was experiencing oxygen tank problems and required assistance while the aircraft crew reported mechanical problems with the cockpit floor suffering distortion suspected to be caused by heat.”
The plane landed uneventfully and everyone aboard remained unharmed.
The Lifejacket Airpocket Plus (LAP) combined lifejacket and hybrid rebreather is a lifesaver. Imagine a life jacket that lets you breathe air. Genius, right? I’ve seen too many helicopter crashes to and from oil rigs. Some of those fatalities should be preventable. This hybrid life jacket would really come in handy to have on a Super Puma helicopter plunging into the North Sea, or the Gulf of Mexico. I hope I’m never in that situation, but if I am, you can bet I’ll be wearing one, and I’ll have read the directions.
A couple of lives may not have been saved with it simply because of directions.
A rebreather is an apparatus that absorbs the carbon dioxide of exhaled breath to permit the recycling of available oxygen. The hybrid unit is a little something extra.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) believes the instructions on how to use this device need to include the information that the rebreather has an air supply; so if someone is in the middle of drowning, they don’t have to be going down with a last breath of air. The rebreather already has some. It’s not like a scuba diving tank with loads of air, but hey, it’s a way to breathe if you’re submerged in a helicopter and don’t have gills. What if all you need is just enough air to keep you alive to get the seatbelt off, or to swim out of an opening? That’s some precious air, all right.
So kudos to the revised pre-flight briefing material. Even if it is a knee-jerk reaction after another tragic helicopter crash, good idea AAIB.
What: British Airways A321 en route from London Heathrow to Glasgow Where: London When: Dec 20th 2011 Who: pilot and co-pilot Why: After takeoff, pilots declared an emergency when they became lightheaded. They returned to Heathrow and made a safe landing. The problem was reported as a technical fault due to fumes or pressure problems in the cockpit. On declaration, pilots called for oxygen which was brought by cabin crew; and oxygen masks were apparently not released for the passengers. The flight made a safe landing. Paramedics were the first aboard, attending to the pilots.
The replacement jet provided for the passengers took them to their destination with a three hour delay,
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