Boeing 747-436, G-CIVA
The aircraft had started its initial descent into Heathrow Airport and was about to enter the Ockham hold. A member of the cabin crew noticed that the trash compactor in Galley 4 (near Door 2 Left) was emitting acrid smoke, but she was unable to isolate its electrical supply. The commander sent the co-pilot to pull the circuit breaker. He could not locate the circuit breaker but was able to isolate the galley using the galley power emergency switch.
The cabin crew monitored the situation, and a few minutes later the smell had worsened, so the commander was informed. The crew declared a MAYDAY and carried out an expeditious approach and landing at Heathrow. They elected to vacate the runway and, after discussions with both the fire services and the cabin crew, taxied to stand. The fire services removed the compactor and the passengers were then disembarked normally.
The compactor unit was sent to the manufacturer for further investigation but no conclusive evidence for the cause of the acrid smoke was found.
The operator has included the findings from this event in its review of cabin crew training and fire safety drills.
Published 10 December 2014