Friday 29 March 2019

Sydney airport control tower evacuated due to smoke


Sydney Airport's control tower has been evacuated due to a fire, sparking chaos at the facility with no planes cleared to take off. Emergency services were called around 11.40am to the air traffic control centre. Fire and Rescue NSW said 20 people needed to be evacuated from the building. Some flights are being allowed to land. Air Services Australia tweeted: "The Sydney Air Traffic Control Tower has been evacuated after smoke was detected."  "There is a full ground stop in place with no aircraft departing or arriving at this time at Sydney Airport." One passenger on a flight bound for Los Angeles said he could see fire trucks from the window of his grounded plane. "Virgin has decided to refuel to make use of the time and speed things up once we get going — people onboard are mainly bored and restless with kids crying and complaining," he said. "My wife and others on the right side are watching the tower out the windows. "We can see fire trucks from here but no smoke." One man, on a flight bound for Bali said the pilot had told passengers "he had not heard from the control tower" and that no planes were taking off or landing. Another passenger was on a Tiger flight when the crew announced a smoke alarm had gone off. He said passengers were told all flights were grounded. "Everyone was calm but annoyed".

SYDNEY TOWER           File Photo

The control tower was back up and running just before 1pm today (local time) with arrivals beginning to be processed. “Aircraft are landing, albeit at a slower rate,” Air Services Australia said. A malfunctioning battery pack, attached to the tower’s computer system had started to smoke at 11.40am today on the first level of the building, causing the fire alarm to go off.
Twenty people were evacuated from the building as Fire and Rescue used thermal imaging technology to find the source of the smoke. “The internal components of the battery pack system had started to smoke which created that nasty, electrical burning smell,” Mr Jonas said.
An electrician has been called to get rid of the smoking battery pack and Fire and Rescue were on scene to test the air quality and make sure the component did not catch alight.

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