Times passed: November 23, 1977 | The Canberra Times

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The drama of an emergency near the capital made the front page of The Canberra Times on this day in 1977. There was an emergency plane at Canberra airport 44 years ago after a plane’s engine caught fire. A Boeing 747B international passenger plane was carrying 118 passengers and 18 crew members when it landed. The engine of the Alitalia plane’s inner harbor gushed smoke as the machine landed. When firefighters from the Department of Transport removed the hood of the damaged engine, it caught fire. They used carbon dioxide extinguishers to put out the fire. Molten metal dripped from the engine when the fire was under control. Passengers were quickly evacuated to the VIP lounge at the RAAF base. An inspection of the engine revealed a plate-sized hole burned through the main gearbox housing. The plane was en route from Sydney to Melbourne on the last leg of its flight from Rome when the emergency occurred. The first officer, Captain Gianfranco Fiandesio, said about 10 minutes after the plane left Sydney, the flight engineer told the inner harbor engine was losing oil rapidly. “But because it was a short sector, we continued the flight,” he said. “This is a completely normal procedure.” Fire warnings appeared on the control panel after the engine was turned off. The engine’s fire-extinguishing systems had been activated twice, but the warning lights had stayed on and the alarm bells continued to ring. Passengers said they were not aware of the fire until they landed. They had been told that there had been “technical problems” and that they had been diverted to Canberra. “Everyone was calm,” said Francis Young, who was on board. “You could tell the precautions were 100 percent. I felt good.” See https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/110879247/12376372


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