A tool left inside the engine of an Airbus 330 caused mid-air engine snag, forcing the Paris-bound aircraft to return to the city airport early on Monday. There were 212 people on board the Air France flight.
Air France has said the “foreign object” found in the engine hood had nothing to do with the engine dysfunction.
About 10 minutes after the aircraft took off, the pilot reported smoke in the cabin and suspected a snag in one of the engines. The cockpit crew reported engine failure to the ATC tower and sought permission to land on priority. As per procedure, fire tenders, an ambulance and airfield vehicles were deployed, and the aircraft landed safely at 3.41am. Passengers were sent to a hotel.
The aviation safety regulator’s preliminary probe report said the tool inside the engine could have caused the dysfunction. A chisel-like tool used to lay a coating on engines to absorb its sound was found inside the engine hood, said sources from the DGCA who inspected the aircraft.
“It seems like the tool caused the snag and also disrupted the system used to maintain temperature and pressure within the cabin, which is why there was smoke,” said a source.
An aircraft maintenance engineer may have forgotten the tool during routine check, sources said. An Air France-KLM spokesperson said: “An investigation will take place. The foreign object will be analysed. According to available information, this object found in the engine hood has no link with the engine dysfunction.”