Pilot Spills Coffee, Forces Emergency Landing Of Plane With 326 People

Spilled coffee forces plane to divert over Atlantic

Spilled coffee forces plane to divert over Atlantic

A spilled cup of coffee caused a lot of trouble.

A flight to Cancun had to be diverted to Ireland after the pilot spilt coffee over the control panel, an Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigation found.

The report also notes that Airbus "highly recommends" that every item in the cockpit go in its assigned place.

All for the want of an acceptable cup holder.

Around 4:20pm, according to the bulletin, "the cup was knocked over" while the plane was flying over the Atlantic.

The incident occurred when the pilot put the coffee on his tray table "while he completed tasks required due to approaching a waypoint".

Despite efforts to dry the liquid quickly, the audio unit - used to make announcements to the plane and for VHF transmissions - malfunctioned right away.

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An accident report has revealed the hot drink damaged an audio control panel, causing an electrical burning smell and smoke. The second one started melting one of its buttons about 20 minutes after the first panel failed.

The commander then made a decision to divert to Shannon Airport in Clare. The commander was not able to receive or transmit and could only hear transmissions through the co-pilot's speaker.

The AAIB report notes that the flight crew did not like using the cockpit's cup holders as they found them hard to use with small cups.

The report said how pilots were given the hot liquid in cups without lids, which the AAIB says was normal for the company operating the flight.

Five people were taken to hospital.

A spokesperson for the airline said the diversion was a "precautionary measure due to a minor amount of smoke in the cockpit". As safety is always our top priority, we have comprehensively investigated this incident and reviewed the procedures of liquids in the cockpit.

The AAIB says that the operator has since changed their procedure to ensure that cup lids are provided for flights on all routes, and cabin crews are reminded of the requirements to use them.

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