Worn wires found in Boeing fuel lines

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The Independent Online
ABOUT half the older Boeing 737 aircraft inspected for wiring damage under an emergency order by the United States Federal Aviation Administration have noticeable wear and tear, FAA administrator Jane Garvey said yesterday.

"As of this morning we've got about 47 inspections in ... about 50 per cent are showing some signs of abrasions," Ms Garvey said in an interview on NBC's Today Show.

Last Sunday, the FAA ordered 737s with more than 50,000 flight hours to stay on the ground until electrical wires in the fuel tanks were inspected and repairs made to prevent the possibility of fire or an explosion. The FAA ordered the immediate inspections after finding new cases of damage to the wires that carry high voltage power to fuel pumps.

Attention has been on fuel-tank ignition sources since the 1996 crash of a TWA 747 near New York which killed all 230 people on board when fuel- tank vapours apparently exploded. While the exact cause of the crash is still being investigated, it has triggered research and regulation affecting an ever-widening range of aircraft models and manufacturers. Ms Garvey assured passengers flying yesterday that all 737s in the air were safe.