Last updated: 10:24 PM ET, Sat July 04 2015

Delta Cargo Hold Fire Scare Causes Emergency Landing

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | July 04, 2015

Delta Cargo Hold Fire Scare Causes Emergency Landing

A cockpit alarm indicating a potential cargo hold fire caused an Amsterdam-to-Atlanta Delta flight to make an emergency landing, according to the Irish Times.

Flight DL-73, a 747-400 with almost 400 aboard diverted to Shannon Airport in Co. Clare, Ireland Friday. At around 2:10 p.m., the crew made the Mayday call regarding the alarm and potential fire. Thousands of gallons of fuel were then dumped, and the cargo hold’s fire extinguishers were activated.

The Irish Times reported that airport crash crews and local fire brigades were on hand to meet the plane, and an RNLI lifeboat station was on standby.

Upon landing just before 3 p.m., fire crews used thermal imaging cameras to check for hotspots on the fuselage, according to the Irish Times, and later entered the aircraft to take a closer look. By 4 p.m., it was officially determined that there was no evidence of fire onboard.

A spokeswoman for Delta confirmed the incident: “The flight crew of Delta flight 73 from Amsterdam to Atlanta elected to divert to Shannon, Ireland, after receiving an indication light on the cargo hold. The flight landed without incident. The safety of Delta customers and crew members is always our top priority.”

The passengers stayed in Clare and Limerick hotels overnight, and departed 5 p.m. Saturday as flight 9856.

The Irish Times points out that many false alarms of this type have been caused by the presence of organic material in the cargo hold, and there were several dogs in the hold. The publication cites an Aeroméxico flight last Monday where a shipment of mangoes is thought to have generated enough heat to trip the alarm, as well as three incidents in 2014, and one in 2013 each involving a 747 transporting heat-generating organic matter.

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