'By The Book' Decompression Incident Ends Happily

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There may be a few new grey hairs on some passengers but the apparent explosive decompression of a Qantas Boeing 747 over the Pacific on Friday resulted in no injuries and , other than the six-foot hole in the baggage compartment of the aircraft, near the right wing root, no serious damage. Flight QF-30 from London to Melbourne was at 29,000 feet when there was a big noise that caught everyone's attention (and if that didn't,the appearance of the oxygen masks did). Remarkably most mainstream media news reports focus on the "sudden plunge" of the aircraft to thicker air that is the standard response during a decompression incident. After the emergency landing in Manila, passengers have arrived in Melbourne and the work of determining cause will begin.

The Australian Transportation Safety Board is, of course, investigating, and the airline pilot forums are alive with speculation—and admiration. It's generally acknowledged that the crew handled the situation by the book. One forum poster has suggested investigators start looking at a "pneumatic duct rupture near the crossover duct."