According to a passenger report, an Emirates 777-300 had a “power problem” flying from Brisbane, Australia to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. This issue caused the cabin lighting to go off and oxygen masks to deploy. The incident occurred approximately six hours into the flight.
According to the Aviation Herald, the Emirates Boeing 777-300 had registration A6-EBU and was performing flight EK431. This is just one of the three daily services the airline offers between Brisbane and Dubai.
The incident occurred roughly six hours into the flight, while the aircraft was over the Arabian Sea just 100 nautical miles west of Mumbai, India. The cabin lighting went off, leading to the emergency lighting turning on. Additionally, passenger oxygen masks were released. The incident prompted the crew to descend from its cruising altitude of FL360 down to FL240. At this level, the flight continued on to Dubai and made a safe landing three hours later.
A passenger reported via the Aviation Herald that the captain subsequently announced a “power problem”. We have contacted Emirates for more details of the incident but have yet to receive a response.
The aircraft involved had registration A6-EBU, which, according to Airfleets is a 13-year-old Boeing 777-300. The aircraft has been with Emirates since it came from Boeing in 2006. The Aviation Herald notes that this aircraft returned to service 5 days and 7 hours after landing. Since inspection and repair, the A6-EBU has gone on to fly services from Dubai to Bengaluru (India), Bologna (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden) and Vienna (Austria).
Oxygen mask deployment
With cabin lighting off and oxygen masks deploying, it is possible that the aircraft’s pressurization system lost power, triggering the masks. Therefore, a reduction in altitude is often the first course of action to ensure the safety of crew and passengers. With a lack of oxygen at high altitudes, passengers and crew would soon start to experience hypoxia. Hypoxia is when the body starts to suffer from a lack of oxygen. One of the most well-known symptoms of hypoxia is blacking out.
A 777 Flight Manual from the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Training Academy states:
“With a sudden loss of cabin pressurization, the outflow valves will close immediately in an attempt to control the cabin pressure. After descent, when the aircraft and cabin altitudes are approximately equal, the outflow valves open to protect the aircraft against negative pressure differentials.”
In recent situations, cabin depressurization has caused the diversion of a China Eastern A330 as well as an Avior Airlines’ 737. Without further details of the incident, it is difficult to know the severity of the problem. We would have to trust the crew’s decision (and obvious expertise and training) to continue the journey to Dubai rather than diverting to the closest airport. In this case, it could have been Mumbai.
Have you ever been on a flight where oxygen masks were deployed? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.