Coffee spillage forced pilot to divert holidaymakers looking for Mexican sun and land in Ireland 

Coffee spillage forced pilot to divert holidaymakers looking for Mexican sun and land in Ireland 

A commercial flight bound for Mexico with 326 people on board was forced to make an emergency landing when hot coffee was accidentally spilled over th

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A commercial flight bound for Mexico with 326 people on board was forced to make an emergency landing when hot coffee was accidentally spilled over the cockpit control panel, it has emerged. 

The airliner was flying over the Atlantic Ocean when it was forced to turn back and land in Ireland.

The hot liquid damaged an audio control panel, producing an electrical burning smell and smoke, an accident report revealed. 

The incident happened on February 6 and resulted in the Airbus A330 flight from Frankfurt in Germany to Cancun in Mexico being diverted to Shannon.  

The pilot had placed his coffee, which was not covered by a lid, on a tray table in the cockpit, instead of using the cup holders provided.  

Handout photo issued by the Air accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) of the console from the cockpit of an Airbus A330 showing the Audio Control Panels which were damaged when a pilot spilt coffee from a cup on his tray table during a flight from Frankfurt Germany to Cancun, Mexico on February 6

Handout photo issued by the Air accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) of the console from the cockpit of an Airbus A330 showing the Audio Control Panels which were damaged when a pilot spilt coffee from a cup on his tray table during a flight from Frankfurt Germany to Cancun, Mexico on February 6

Handout photo issued by the Air accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) of the console from the cockpit of an Airbus A330 showing the Audio Control Panels which were damaged when a pilot spilt coffee from a cup on his tray table during a flight from Frankfurt Germany to Cancun, Mexico on February 6 

The pilot had placed his coffee, which was not covered by a lid, on a tray table in the cockpit, instead of using the cup holders provided (stock image)

The pilot had placed his coffee, which was not covered by a lid, on a tray table in the cockpit, instead of using the cup holders provided (stock image)

The pilot had placed his coffee, which was not covered by a lid, on a tray table in the cockpit, instead of using the cup holders provided (stock image) 

It created ‘significant communication difficulty’ for the pilots flying the Condor aircraft, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said. 

The smoke stopped and the fumes did not result in injuries to any of the 11 crew or 326 passengers on board.

Diversions typically cost airlines between £10,000 and £80,000 depending on the size of the aircraft and where it diverts to, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

The AAIB said the small size of cups used by Condor 'generally discouraged' use of the holders as it was difficult to grasp them (stock)

The AAIB said the small size of cups used by Condor 'generally discouraged' use of the holders as it was difficult to grasp them (stock)

The AAIB said the small size of cups used by Condor ‘generally discouraged’ use of the holders as it was difficult to grasp them (stock)

The report found the 49-year-old captain had put his coffee cup on a tray table – where objects are ‘vulnerable to being knocked over’ – despite Airbus recommending pilots use the cup holders provided.

The AAIB said the small size of cups used by Condor ‘generally discouraged’ use of the holders as it was difficult to grasp them.

Investigators also noted putting a lid on the cup may have reduced the amount of coffee spilled.

Condor responded to the accident by ensuring cup lids are provided on all flights, reminding pilots to be careful with liquids and supplying cups that are an appropriate size for cup holders.

 

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