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Mechanic tells investigators fuel was leaking

Date Posted: 2007-08-24

Fuel was leaking from a China Airlines jetliner as it taxied to a parking area Monday, minutes before it exploded in flames, a mechanic has told investigators.
The mechanic witnessed the Boeing 737-800 burst into flames and explode shortly after it taxied to the gate and stopped. He described to investigators the scene, where fuel was leaking from the right engine. He says it was leaking as it approached, but investigators from the Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission say they’ve found no evidence of leaked fuel either on the taxiway or the runway. A commission spokesman says, though, “from the size and intensity of the fire, we may be looking at a very large fuel leak.”
Hiromi Tsurumiu also says investigators are exploring possibilities the leak may have begun even while the China Airlines jet was still airborne. Investigators from Boeing, the company that built the plane, are studying whether damages to the engine pylon could have damaged fuel lines.
China Air flight 120 had just landed on a flight from Taipei with 157 passengers and a crew of eight at Naha when the fire broke out. All aboard were safely evacuated via emergency slides.

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