Plane forced to land at Shannon Airport after coffee spilled in cockpit

Galtero Lara
Setiembre 13, 2019

The incident happened after a pilot put his coffee cup without a lid on a tray table rather than in a cup holder, the report said.

Audio Control Panel 1 and Audio Control Panel 2, which both malfunctioned after a pilot spilled his coffee during a flight from Germany to Mexico.

With the hot liquid causing a strong electrical burning smell and smoke rising from the panel, the captain made a decision to divert, the report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.

"Cups in the cup holders", the bulletin quotes an Airbus manual as saying.

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

This was because the pilots' audio control panels (ACP) started melting and there was smoke in the cockpit.

Another twenty minutes after that the unit became so hot that buttons began to melt, however at this stage the jet was nearly halfway across the Atlantic.

It too failed, and smoke could be seen coming from the first panel.

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At that point, the bulletin said, the pilot chose to turn the plane around and land in Shannon. The commander was not able to receive or transmit and could only hear transmissions through the co-pilot's speaker.

No crew or passengers were injured during the diversion.

"The operator also issued a flight crew notice reminding pilots to be careful with liquids", it said.

Five people were taken to hospital.

A spokesperson for Condor - part of the Thomas Cook Group - told CNN in a statement: "Flight DE2116 from Frankfurt to Cancun on February 6, 2019, diverted to Shannon airport as a precautionary measure due to a minor amount of smoke in the cockpit after a liquid spillage".

The flight continued by way of Manchester, because of the crew's legal operating hours, after the plane was inspected and repaired. As safety is always our top priority, we have comprehensively investigated this incident and reviewed the procedures of liquids in the cockpit.

They have also provided lids for all coffee cups on board.

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