Singapore Airlines 777 Catches Fire At Changi Airport

Filed Under: Singapore, Videos

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER flying from Singapore to Milan early this morning returned to Changi Airport about three hours after takeoff, after the plane had an engine problem.

Shortly after the plane landed back at Changi Airport, the right wing caught on fire. Here’s a video of the incident, from one of the passengers onboard:

Per The Straits Times:

“The blaze was quite fierce and we waited for around two to three minutes before the fire engines arrived,” she said.

“All the passengers were surprisingly quite calm.”

SIA said the right engine of the plane caught fire after the plane touched down at Changi aircraft at 6.50am.

Passengers disembarked through stairs and were transported to the terminal building by bus.

Thank goodness everyone was okay, though that’s quite a fire! They don’t yet know the cause of the incident, though I’ll be curious to see once the report is released.

(Tip of the hat to Jim)

  1. I got a video taken by someone at the terminal from outside the plane… Looks more scary.

    Cause is leaking fuel ignored by a spark as I understand… Curious to know the official findings…

  2. How on god’s green earth did they not evacuate this plane? Seems like a given here to GTFO through the left side of the aircraft.

  3. I don’t understand how everyone remained so calm, or why they didn’t evacuate. I think if I were in an exit row (opposite the fire), I likely would have popped the door and ran like hell. I am not a scared flyer, but I am sure I would have been panic stricken myself.

  4. Another craptacular performance from Singapore Airlines’ flight attendants!!! WTH, why would you not evacuate the aircraft when it is on FIRE, we’re not talking about just some smoke here!? This is not an airline I’d ever fly after this and stories from SQ6 where many FAs left the aircraft before passengers did (, I don’t care how much bloggers rave about their product or service.

  5. I want to thank the crew of that plane who got it back safely on the ground. Everyone seems to be condemning the FA for not evacuating which is definitely a valid concern, but are ignoring the fact that if the pilots didn’t follow precautions, the WING WOULD HAVE CAUGHT FIRE IN THE SKY and then we would have MUCH bigger problems.

  6. IMO, it’s a judgment call that the tech crew will have to make. The principal considerations will be the extent of the fire and the amount of time needed to extinguish it, the amount of time required to evacuate by slides on one side of the aircraft (doubles the textbook evac time effectively) and the extent of injuries associated with panic and slide evacuation. What I’m curious though is why the decision was not made to divert to another airfield en route, say KUL or BKK. I’m glad that every one on board is fine, just a side thought.

  7. tutti fruits : canapés would be a bit pointless in this situation. Most likely be served marshmallows or smores.

  8. They made the right call to not evacuate. CFR was there, and more people would have been injured evacuating rather than let CFR do their job and deplane in an orderly fashion.

  9. My question is what type of issue is serious enough to cause an engine fire, but not serious enough to divert somewhere closer to the turnaround point like BKK or CCU?

  10. Hmm if you read the reports, the wing only caught fire upon landing.

    There was a fuel leak and I believe the pilot felt it was safe to head back to Changi since the engines were still running.

    The sparks from the landing might have ignited the fuel.

  11. @ Chase: The captain needs to give the evacuation order. FAs are only allowed to evacuate on their own if the pilots are incapacitated, communication with them is impossible, or the situation in the cabin does not allow for even seconds of delay. So no reason to blame the FAs here (apart from the fact that it might have been the right decision not to evacuate).

  12. Comments from a senior 777 SQ captain who I know well –

    A fuel leak in the air at high altitude is somewhat like us jettisoning fuel .. it evaporates .. there is no dribbling and puddling effect .. from the look of it a supply line probably probably cracked. They were carrying fuel to get to Milan so all they had to do was monitor the rate of loss of fuel.

    The pilots probably noticed that the flight fuel consumption audit on board reflected didn’t match the fuel that should have been remaining ( we do this reconciliation all the time for exactly the reasons that caused the turn back.. we call it the ‘fuel remaining check) and decided something was causing them to loose fuel. At that rate, flight continuation was no longer viable.

    What will happen is that the malfunctioning part will be identified and the batch number identified. All B777s with that part of the same batch number will be identified and the part checked and monitored to see if it a one off case.

  13. @ Claus: “The captain needs to give the evacuation order. FAs are only allowed to evacuate on their own if the pilots are incapacitated…”

    What makes me mad is if anyone even thinks about what’s allowed and not allowed. It is a duty for every rational thinking human being to prioritize saving lives, even if you have to ignore command structures, break any rules and fight any procedural nonsense from authorities when it comes to making life and death emergency decisions.

    If it’s not allowed but will save lives, then anyone who makes those rules in the first place should be reprimanded, and anyone who broke the rules with the intention to save lives should be rewarded.

    That said, FAs are already trained exactly for these types of situations, recalling the last british airways 777 fire, photos there clearly shows that the fire engines can only spray foam from one side because the other side was blocked by an extended slide, the fire probably could have been put out faster if that slide wasn’t there. Also, recalling the Asiana airlines incident where the passengers are killed by the fire trucks, the fire engines would likely wanted to be more careful to avoid running over any evacuating passengers.

    Kudos to the amazing flight crew and ground crew for managing such a horrible situation and coming out with zero injuries while still minimizing damage to the aircraft given what happened.

  14. It appears SQ pilots have issues in the cockpit when it comes to emergencies and deviating from the script, (common sense) decision making. Makes me think of the A330 incident a few months ago, and going back to the 744 at TPE.

    Then no one wants to jump into fire… See CO DC10 runway accident/fire at LAX in the late 70s.

    Ughhh, it’s a little upsetting to see this. None of us AC Geeks and business travelers ever want to see this.

  15. @Chase,
    1. “[Singapore Airlines SQ6’s flight attendant] Irene Ang Miau Lee (洪妙丽 Hóng Miàolì) escaped the crash, ran back into the aircraft to attempt to save passengers, and died.”

    2. “The [Official] Taiwanese [investigation] report stated that the relief pilot (Crew Member 3, or CM-3) said in an interview that he was the first to leave the cockpit and the last to leave the aircraft[4] (Pg. 108/508).”

    3. “A passenger sitting in seat 17A stated that the Right Upper Deck Door flight attendant directed him to the main deck via the stairs. The flight attendant died[4] (Pg. 108/508).”

    4. “Upper deck passengers and flight attendants stated that the Crew-In-Charge flight attendant (CIC) travelled upstairs after the first impact; the Crew-In-Charge flight attendant died[4] (Pg. 109/508).”

    Meanwhile, we have a gullible navie simpleton (yeah, you!) who would rather believe some junk tabloids and hearsays, instead of a formal investigation report! (You do know the website you cited is an anti-singapore-governmentt website and SIA is government-owned?)

    But more than being gullible and naive, didn’t your mother teach you some decency – e.g. the decency to not speak ill of the dead Btw, you are not just speaking ill…. you are propagating an outright lie, slandering the good name of dead heroes and heroines, and their living colleagues.

    Sure, maybe there were a few rotten apples among the crew, I don’t know. But I sure know you are a rotten apple who, like the proverb, did not fall far from the rotten apple trees that your parents are! Like father like son…

  16. What a failure not to evacuate. Accepting a non-evacuation in this situation is similar to accept if BA had not evacuated at McCarran Inernational Airport. If you see fire and you sit on a bomb – get the hell out of the plane.
    But it does raise some interesting questions – How much bonus does the pilot get for not evacuating, and 777 safety records is not so stellar anymore.

  17. @Hase,

    Please read page 3 and 5 of this:

    “Unless cabin is filled with dense smoke, or the fire is in the cabin, then evacuation has to be done.

    In this case, the fire was on the wing, which meant that evacuation was unnecessary. Furthermore, injury from fire and smoke inhalation is very dangerous and may be lethal. I believe that the team has done a very good job, and there are many other flights with similar accidents, and most of which were dealt similarly.”

  18. I am a pilot of this exact aircraft type. On this and any other airliner I’ve operated, we are trained to evacuate the aircraft immediately upon confirmation of a fire, as soon as you can stop and shut down the aircraft. The order would have been given over the PA speakers to evacuate, or evacuate left side doors only. Either way, the flight attendants are trained to look out the door’s window just prior to opening the door to confirm it is safe (no fire or firefighting equipment in the way). There is little difference in evacuation time between using all ten slides or just the five on the left. It can be completed safely within a couple of minutes. The people on this SQ flight were just very lucky they survived despite their pilots’ inaction. If the wind had been blowing from the right side instead of the left side, the passenger cabin might have burned through in a matter of a couple of minutes, as has happened before in other accidents.

  19. If a passenger in an exit row on the left side had chosen to open the exit door and evacuate the plane, would he have gotten in trouble? Surely when your plane is on fire you do what you can to save yourself, right? I’m surprised the people in the exit row didn’t choose to evacuate.

  20. This morning I was sitting in the first row on SQ368, on the side of the fire. Landing announcements were the standard ones, no specific instructions given. As the plane was decelerating after touch-down, I noticed orange/red flashes around the engine that turned into flames as the plane stopped.

    The first class flight attendants were seated nearby, chatting casually and certainly not looking worried.
    I unfastened my seatbelt to reach them and told the right engine was on fire, showing them a picture I had just taken. Two of them came to my seat to look, with one saying WOW and asking if I could send him the picture… They added that the ground staff was in control of the operations and not to worry, but that looked more like an assumption rather than factual information they had. In any case everything was managed very calmly, in a few minutes I was back into the airport lounge and two hours later already on route to Milan on an identical plane, no reseating, no new boarding passes, with my checked-in luggage flying with me on the new flight to Milan. Everything amazingly well managed. It made things look almost not as serious as they could have been.

    I am glad I was on Singapore Airlines, and not surrounded by energetic “know-it-all” like some of the commentators here. The passengers, a mix of what looked predominantly Italian businessmen and expat families, Australian tourists and other Asian nationalities behave incredibly calmly and responsibly.

    BTW, the captain updates mentioned oil lubricant issues that forced to reduce engine thrust while flying back at 5,100 m altitude, instead of the usual 11,000 m. No mention of fuel leaks.

  21. Guess the main concern here is fire. Fire makes most scared and fearful and want to run. If there was no fire the agreements would not be there. So sometimes what the right choice is not clear.

    My bigger question which no one seems to discuss is why land with both engines ? If there is problem with engine why not shut it down ? Planes are designed to land on one engine right ? Would it have been safer to shut down the second engine and would it have prevented the fire ?

  22. When engine oil temperature warning persists, pilot is supposed to shut down the engine and close fire shut off cock of that engine.
    Why was this not done before landing?

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