Last Sunday morning, American Airlines flight 175 departed Dallas/Ft. Worth for Tokyo (Narita). After an indication of a fire in the aft cargo area of the Boeing 777-223ER (registration N777AN, AA's eighth 777) while flying at FL360, the flight diverted to Eareckson Air Station on Shemya Island, near the western end of the Aleutian Island chain and about 100 nm southeast of the flight's position at the time of the fire indication. The flight was slightly north of the great circle path, which would have passed 35 nm (65 km) south of Shemya.
The cargo was unloaded and the aircraft inspected, with no evidence of fire found. Meanwhile, the 197 passengers (the flight also carried 15 crew) enjoyed an opportunity to visit a remote island rarely seen by people not associated with the U.S. military. No doubt they were happy that it is summer in Alaska! A few hours later the flight flew to Anchorage where the passengers were accommodated in hotels until a replacement aircraft and crew could be ferried in to take them to Tokyo, arriving nearly two days later than scheduled.
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Karl L. Swartz.
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