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19 August 1980 - Saudi 163

Flight SV163, a Lockheed L-1011-200 TriStar, registered HZ-AHK, landed at Riyadh at 16.06h GMT for a scheduled intermediate stop after a flight from Karachi. At 18.08hrs the aircraft took off for the final leg to Jeddah. Six minutes and 54secs. after take-off, while climbing to FL350, visual and aural warnings indicated smoke in the aft cargo compartment C-3. Climbing through FL220 (at 18.20h), a return to Riyadh was initiated. About two minutes later smoke was noted in the aft of the cabin, and passengers were panicking. At 18.25:26h the no.2 engine throttle was stuck. The fire had by then entered the cabin of the TriStar. Because passengers where fighting in the aisles, aft of doors L2 and R2, the captain asked everybody to remain seated (18.27:40). On final approach engine no.2 was shut down, and the captain told the cabin crew not to evacuate.

Flight SV163 landed back at Riyadh runway 01 at 18.36:24hrs. The crew continued to a taxiway and told the tower that they were going to shut the engines down and evacuate.

Once the aircraft had stopped, the crew reported that they were shutting down the engines and about to evacuate. On arrival at the aircraft soon after, however, the rescue personnel found that the two wing-mounted engines were still running, preventing them from opening the doors. These were finally shut down at 21:42 (18:42 UTC), three minutes and 15 seconds after the aircraft came to a stop, at which point communication with the crew was lost. No external fire was visible at this time, but flames were observed through the windows at the rear of the aircraft. Twenty-three minutes after engine shutdown, at 22:05 (19:05 UTC), the R2 door (second door on the right side) was opened by ground personnel. Three minutes later, the aircraft burst into flames, and was consumed by fire.

Why Captain Khowyter failed to evacuate the aircraft promptly is not known. Saudi reports stated that the crew could not get the plug-type doors to open in time. It is assumed that most passengers and flight attendants were incapacitated during the landing roll, or they did not attempt to open a door on a moving aircraft. It is known that the aircraft remained pressurized during the landing roll as the cabin pressurization system was on standby, and the aircraft was found with both pressurization hatches almost completely closed. The pressurization hatches should have opened completely on touchdown to depressurize the aircraft. The crew were found still in their seats, and all the victims were found in the forward half of the fuselage. Autopsies were conducted on some of the non-Saudi nationals, including the American flight engineer. All of them perished from smoke inhalation and not burns, which indicated that they had died long before the R2 door was opened. The source of the fire in compartment C3 could not be determined.[



Transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)

LegendaCAM-1 = Voice identified as CaptainCAM-2 = Voice identified as First OfficerCAM-3 = Voice identified as Flight EngineerCAM-4 = Voice identified as Flight AttendantRDO-2 = Radio transmission by First OfficerPA = Public address systemTMACC = Riyadh Terminal Area Control CenterTWR = Riyadh Tower(T) = translated part
Time (mm:ss) to landing GMT Time ( Source Content
28:41 18:07:49   Takeoff
  18.14:53 CAM ((Hostess call signal followed by an alternating tone at 14.54)
21:32 18.14:58 CAM-3 "B" aft cargo
    CAM-1 What?
  18.15:01 CAM-3 "B" aft cargo
  18.15:04 CAM-2 What's going on?
  18.15:10 CAM-3 Smoke detection "B" aft cargo
  18.15:14 CAM-1 Stop ventilation
  18.15:16 CAM-3 Smoke detection
    CAM-3 Smoke detection "B" aft cargo
21:10 18.15:20 CAM-1 In "B" aft cargo
    CAM-3 Yes
  18.15:32 CAM-1 Did you turn it to the other one?
  18.15:37 CAM-3 Just in "B".
    CAM-1 What?
  18.15:39 CAM-3 Not in "A".
    CAM-3 Just in "B".
    CAM-1 Just "B".
  18.15:42 CAM-3 Yeah, "A" is okay.
    CAM-1 Okay, so we can go on
    CAM-3 Yes
  18.15:51 CAM-1 The ventilation is not working at all in that one
    CAM-3 Yeah
    CAM ((Alternating tone))
  18.15:55 CAM-3 There is "A"
    CAM-1 What?
    CAM-3 Now it is "A", both of them
20:31 18.15:59 CAM-1 So we got to be returning back right?
    CAM-3 Both "A" and "B" aft cargo smoke detection
  18.16:06 CAM-1 So we have smoke there
  18.16:07 CAM-3 I would say so, yeah
  18.16:18 CAM-1 What's the procedure for it in the checklist?
20:10 18.16:20 CAM-1 Yeah I am looking for it now
  18.17:10 CAM-1 ((Singing in Arabic))
  18.17:16 CAM-1 (T) See that, what's it's name
  18.17:17 CAM-2 Abnormal
  18.17:19 CAM-1 (T) No, no checklist abnormal
18:04 18.18:26 CAM-3 Both "A" and "B"
    CAM-3 Yeah. Both "A" and "B"
    CAM-3 Shall I test it again and see if it will test?
    CAM-1 Yeah
  18.18:34 CAM-3 It doesn't test
    CAM-1 Doesn't test?
    CAM-3 Both off
    CAM-1 So that's actual isn't it?
  18.18:54 CAM-3 That would ah --- I would say actual, yeah
    CAM-1 Uh
    CAM-3 I would say so, yeah both of them went
17:30 18.19:00 CAM-1 We have cleared the situation
  18.19:17 CAM-1 There isn't anything about it in the abnormal procedures, huh.
  18.19:20 CAM-3 Nothing about it, should I just go back there and see if I can find anything or smell anything?
  18.19:25 CAM-1 What?
  18.19:26 CAM-3 Shall I go back there and see if I can smell anything?
    CAM-1 Okay, sure.
    CAM-3 Yeah
    CAM ((Sound of cockpit door opening))
17:00 18.19:30 CAM-1 Have they seen it
    CAM-3 If I can see, smell something I'm think we better go back
  18.19:35 CAM-1 Surely check it
    CAM-3 We'll see
  18.19:40 CAM ((Sound similar to cockpit door slamming))
  18.19:41 CAM-2 (T) Strange no procedure for it
    CAM-1 No procedure for it?
  18.19:44 CAM-1 Tell them we're returning back
    CAM-2 To Riyadh
  18.19:48 CAM-1 We are 60 miles out ah ---
  18.19:58 CAM-1 We better go, go back to Riyadh
    CAM-1 (T) Look in the abnormal
    CAM-1 (T) By the way he's a jackass, in the abnormal it is in the checklist
  18.20:16 CAM-3 We've got a fire back there
    CAM ((Sound similar to door slamming))
  18.20:18 CAM-1 We do?
    CAM-3 Yes we do
    CAM-1 It's okay call please
  18.20:25 CAM-1 Tell him we're coming back
  18.20:25 TMACC Go ahead
  18.20:27 RDO-2 18.1-6-3, we're coming back to Riyadh
16:00 18.20:30 CAM-3 I would declare an emergency
    CAM-1 Yeah
  18.20:33 TMACC Cleared to reverse course to Riyadh and request reason
    CAM-2 Declare emergency?
  18.20:36 CAM ((Door slams))
  18.20:37 CAM-? Fire, fire in the cabin
  18.20:37 RDO-2 Saudia one six three, we've got fire in the cabin and please alert the fire trucks
    CAM ((Noise similar to door slamming))
  18.20:45 TMACC Okay and cleared back and if you'd like to descend, you can descend to any altitude you like
  18.20:50 CAM-1 Okay
    CAM-2 I already asked, I already asked
  18.23:07 CAM-3 We definitely want
  18.23:10 CAM-3 We definitely, we definitely want preference to land
    CAM-1 Huh?
  18.23:13 CAM-3 We definitely want preference to land, that's for sure
    CAM-1 Yeah
  18.23:22 CAM-1 Pressurization set? ---
    CAM ((cabin announcement - unintelligible))
13:03 18.23:27 CAM-1 Okay
  18.23:32 CAM-2 No smoking sign on
    CAM-1 Okay, no smoking sign
  18.23:36 CAM-1 Landing preliminary
  18.23:40 CAM-3 Okay landing preliminary
  18.23:41 CAM-3 18.1-42 on the bug
    CAM-1 one fortytwo
  18.23:42 CAM-2 one fortytwo
    CAM-3 Anti-ice
    CAM-1 Off
  18.23:50 CAM-3 HSI heading
    CAM-1 Set
  18.23:51 CAM-3 Seatbelt sign
    CAM-1 On
    CAM-3 Ah
    CAM-3 Logo light
    CAM-1 It's okay
  18.23:55 CAM-3 Logo light
    CAM-1 Checked
12:32 18.23:58 CAM-3 Altimeters
    CAM-1 Altimeters is gonna be what it is
    CAM-1 It was 1-0-0-2 setting
  18.24:03 CAM-3 Okay, and airspeed, groundspeed, airspeed and EPR bugs
  18.24:16 CAM-3 Gross weight estimates
  18.24:16 CAM ((Sound of alternating tone)) ((Smoke detector aural warning))
  18.24:21 CAM-3 What can I say
  18.24:22 CAM-1 Okay
    CAM-3 I think it's all right now
    CAM-1 Okay
12:05 18.24:25 CAM-2 one one zero
    CAM-3 Gross weight airspeed and EPR bugs
    CAM-1 Set and cross checked, one forty two set here two and one five five check
    CAM-2 One five five
    CAM-3 Check
  18.24:40 CAM-1 Keep the oxygen to be prepared
  18.24:41 CAM-3 ((Sound of alternating tone three times simultaneously with above))
    CAM-3 There goes "A"
    PA (T) # # # #
  18.24:49 CAM-1 ((Singing in Arabic))
11:31 18.24:59 PA Would passengers please remain seated
  18.25:04 CAM-2 Six point eight
    CAM-1 Huh?
    CAM-2 Six point eight on the QNH
    CAM-2 One zero zero six decimal eight
    CAM-? ((Continuous talk by female voice in background))
  18.25:12 CAM-1 Okay zero six decimal eight
11:04 18.25:26 CAM-1 Okay the throttle in engine number two, it's not returning back --- stuck
    CAM-3 Stuck?
  18.25:32 CAM-1 Stuck
  18.25:36 CAM-3 I would leave it the way it is, Sir
    CAM ((Sound of knocking))
    CAM-1 Huh?
    CAM-3 Just leave it the way it is.
  18.25:40 CAM-1 I'm going to shut it down
  18.25:41 CAM-4 We tried to, we tried to put it off, at L4 there is a fire
    CAM-3 There's a fire?
    CAM-4 Yeah
    CAM-3 Well go put it out
  18.25:45 TMACC One six three, did you get the message to get us the passengers on board and fuel endurance
    CAM-4 How
  18.25:47 CAM-3 In the ah, --- the fire extinguisher
    CAM-4 I know I said we will do it
  18.25:50 CAM-3 There is a fire back there
    CAM-1 Okay
  18.25:54 CAM ((Sound similar to door slamming))
  18.25:55 CAM-1 Tell them we have actual fire in the cabin
10:31 18.25:59 RDO-2 Riyadh Saudi Arabia one six three, we have an actual fire in the cabin now
  18.26:07 CAM-3 Shall I let Jeddah know on HF?
    CAM-1 No
  18.26:10 TMACC Saudi one six three roger, the fire are in the standby position and they are ready
    CAM-3 No?
    CAM-1 Not with our situation
  18.26:17 RDO-2 One six three
  18.26:18 PA L4 and R4 get the fire extinguishers from the galley --- ((repeated))
10:01 18.26:29 CAM-3 Jee's lets go on as fast as we can til we can get to approach
  18.26:31 CAM-1 That's it, this is the maximum
    CAM-3 Yeah
  18.26:34 CAM-1 Now engine number two is stuck there so something is wrong in it, I'm gonna be shut it down
  18.26:39 CAM ((Sound similar to cockpit call chime))
  18.26:40 CAM-3 Well not yet, not yet, not yet
  18.26:42 CAM-4 There is no way I can go to the back * * after L2 R2 because the people are fighting in the aisles
    CAM-3 Okay find a way if you can
  18.26:53 CAM-4 L4 R4 L3 R3 * * open the cabinet and use all your fire extinguishers and the CO2
9:28 18.27:02 CAM-3 I'll keep your speed up as long as possible
    CAM-1 Okay
    CAM-1 As soon as possible we're gonna be down
  18.27:16 PA (T) (All passengers remain in your seats, etc.)
  18.27:21 CAM-3 And your target speed is one forty one
    CAM-1 Huh one forty one is set
9:00 18.27:30 CAM-3 Here's the bug card
  18.27:32 CAM-1 Thank you
  18.27:39 CAM-2 Set on mine
  18.27:40 PA Please, everybody set down, move out of the way, everybody sit down, move out of the aisle, there is no danger from the airplane, everybody should stay in their seats
    PA (T) Sit on your seat, sit on your seat, ladies and gentlemen take your seat --- nothing will happen to aircraft, ladies and gentlemen fasten your seatbelt, don't stand like this set on your seats -- sit down, sit down [in Urdu]
8:27 18.28:03 CAM-3 Piece of cake, piece of cake
  18.28:10 CAM-3 As soon as we land, sir, I suggest that we turn off all fuel valves
  18.28:14 CAM-1 Okay
    CAM-3 As soon as we land
    CAM-1 Okay
  18.28:17 CAM-3 As soon as we touch down
    CAM-1 Okay
  18.28:22 CAM-1 Where is the runway?
    CAM-1 Can you see the runway?
  18.28:27 CAM-2 No not yet, not yet
8:01 18.28:29 CAM-2 Twenty eight miles
    CAM-? # # #
  18.28:40 CAM-3 Did you tell the fire trucks to go to the back of the airplane as soon as possible
    CAM-2 Yeah
    CAM-1 Huh
    PA (T) Will all passengers remain seated, will all passengers remain seated, ((Urdu)) --- ladies and gentlemen sit down, sit down (repeated)
    CAM-1 Advise them
    CAM-1 Huh
    CAM-2 Advise them?
  18.28:50 CAM-1 (T) How?
  18.28:50 RDO-2 Riyadh one six three
    CAM-2 Advise them
  18.28:52 TWR Go ahead
    CAM ((Sound of two knocks))
    CAM-1 Yeah, yeah
  18.28:54 RDO-2 Please advise fire trucks to be at tail of the airplane after touch, please.
7:31 18.28:59 TWR Yes, will do
  18.29:01 CAM-1 (T) Where is the airport, I don't see it?
    CAM-4 Captain there is too much smoke in the back
    CAM-2 (T) There is the airport road, the yellow lamps are the airport road.
    CAM-1 Huh
    CAM-2 (T) The yellow lamps are the airport road
    CAM-1 That
    CAM-2 Yeah
    CAM-4 # # #
    CAM-1 Are there too much smoke there?
6:56 18.29:34 CAM-3 Okay, I am going to test the system again
  18.29:36 CAM ((Sound of alternating tone)) ((Smoke detector))
  18.29:38 CAM-3 Okay, there's both "A" and "B" loops working again
  18.29:44 CAM-3 And no indication of smoke
  18.29:46 CAM-1 Huh
  18.29:47 CAM-3 No ah indication of smoke, however, the cabin is filled with smoke in the back
    CAM-1 Okay
  18.29:53 CAM-1 Now the number two is stuck there the engine
    CAM-1 Okay
  18.29:56 CAM-3 I suggest we shut it down on short final
  18.29:59 CAM ((Sound of alternating tone))
6:31 18.29:59 CAM-1 Yeah, on short final
  18.30:01 CAM-3 Okay, there is "A" again
  18.30:03 CAM-3 And "A" is going out
  18.30:20 CAM ((Sound similar to door movement))
6:03 18.30:27 PA (T) ((Passenger exhorting passengers to sit down))
  18.30:35 CAM-3 What is he saying?
    CAM-2 Trying to keep them calm, keep the down
  18.30:41 CAM-1 Okay flaps four please
  18.30:45 CAM-1 Okay, final to the box
  18.30:47 CAM-2 Final to the box please
  18.30:52 CAM ((Sound similar to seat movement))
  18.30:56 PA Everybody sit down please, all passengers
5:30 18.31:00 CAM-1 Okay flaps ten please, correction, it's okay
    CAM ((Sound of cough))
    CAM-? *
    CAM-2 (T) They are the first people
    CAM-1 (T) What?
    CAM-2 (T) They are the first people
    CAM-1 (T) Who are they?
  18.31:13 CAM-2 (T) They are the people we were talking about
    CAM-1 Huh
    CAM-2 They are the people we were talking about
  18.31:18 CAM-1 (T) Where is the airport I don't see it
    CAM-2 (T) You see those lights over there, that's the stadium
  18.31:22 CAM-2 I got the field in sight
  18.31:25 CAM-1 I am just trying to intercept this (radial)
    CAM-2 Okay
5:00 18.31:30 CAM-4 Shall we evacuate?
    CAM-1 What?
  18.31:31 CAM-4 Did you say we should evacuate ---
    CAM-1 Okay
    CAM-4 The passengers
    CAM-3 Say again
    CAM-4 Can we evacuate all the passengers?
  18.31:34 CAM-1 Flaps ten please
    CAM-3 When we're on the ground yes
    CAM-4 Okay after we are on the ground yes
    CAM-2 Flaps ten
    CAM-1 Yeah
  18.31:38 CAM-1 Final to the box !
  18.31:40 CAM-2 Final to the box please
  18.31:41 CAM-3 Final to the box
  18.31:42 CAM-3 Okay ignition
    CAM-2 On
    CAM-3 No smoking sign
    CAM-2 Say again
  18.31:48 CAM-3 No smoking sign
    CAM-2 On
  18.31:49 CAM-3 Altimeters
    CAM-2 Set, cross checked
    CAM-3 Brake pressure
    CAM-2 Checked
  18.31:51 CAM-3 Radio and R NAV selector
    CAM-2 Check
  18.31:54 CAM-3 Okay complete to the box
  18.31:58 CAM-3 Okay, right after landing sir do you want me to turn off all fuel valves?
4:28 18.32:02 CAM-1 No after we have stopped the aircraft
    CAM-3 Okay
  18.32:05 CAM-1 Okay, I'll tell you
  18.32:10 CAM-4 Do you want us to evacuate passengers Captain?
    CAM-1 What?
    CAM-4 Do you want us to evacuate the passengers as soon as we stop
  18.32:16 CAM-1 Take your position
    CAM-4 Okay
  18.32:19 CAM-3 The area duct overheat
    CAM ((Sound similar to door shutting))
    CAM-1 Okay
    CAM-1 Flaps eighteen please
  18.32:23 CAM-2 One eight
  18.32:25 PA Flight attendants please take your position
    CAM-4 Flight attendants please take your positions
3:59 18.32:31 CAM-2 Got runway in sight?
  18.32:33 RDO-2 Riyadh, one six three, we got the runway in sight, are we cleared to land?
    CAM-1 Oh yeah, I see it
    PA Please take your positions
  18.32:36 TMACC Affirmative, you are number one cleared for approach and you can continue tower one eighteen one
  18.32:42 RDO-2 Eighteen one, one six three
  18.32:44 RDO-2 Riyadh, Saudia one six three ten miles final runway in sight, cleared to land?
    CAM-4 All of you sit down
  18.32:48 TWR One six three cleared to land, wind three two zero at five
  18.32:48 CAM-1 Okay I'm shutting
    PA (T) Fasten seatbelts all of you sit down [in Urdu]
  18.32:52 CAM-1 Okay, I'm shutting down engine number two
    CAM-1 It's stuck, present EPR
  18.32:53 RDO-2 One six three, cleared to land, confirm you have alerted the fire trucks
    CAM-3 Okay
    CAM-1 Okay
    CAM-3 Okay
  18.32:58 TWR Affirmative, they are ready
  18.32:59 CAM-1 Okay, it is coming down
3:29 18.33:01 RDO-2 (T) Thank you
    CAM-3 All right
    CAM-1 Okay
  18.33:06 CAM-2 Flaps in eighteen
  18.33:08 CAM-3 I'll keep our speed up as much as possible
    CAM-1 Okay, flaps twenty two
    CAM-2 Flaps twenty two
    CAM-4 Give me your attention please, be seated ladies and gentlemen, we are about to land there's no reason to panic
  18.33:22 CAM-3 I'll give you a hundred and fifty down, okay
    CAM-1 What?
  18.22:23 CAM-3 A hundred and fifty on down
    CAM-1 Yeah sure
3:01 18.33:29 PA We're about to land ladies and gentlemen place your hands behind your head for impact, girls demonstrate impact position, girls demonstrate impact position
  18.33:31 CAM-1 Gear down please
    CAM-2 Gear is coming down
  18.33:35 CAM-3 Okay, you can go one ninety
    CAM-1 Good
  18.33:40 CAM-1 There is no, any procedure for the two engine, it's the same as three
    CAM-2 Okay
    CAM-3 Yeah
  18.33:45 CAM-1 I just want to confirm it, I know it God damn it
  18.33:52 CAM-1 Tell him that engine number two is should be shut down --- it's stuck
  18.33:57 CAM-2 Okay
  18.33:58 CAM-1 Tell the tower
    CAM-2 Yeah
2:30 18.34:00 CAM-1 Yeah, we just have engine number one
  18.34:02 RDO-2 Tower Saudi one six three
  18.34:04 PA The girls have demonstrated impact position, please go down half a minute before touchdown, it's half a minute before touchdown, hands behind your head
  18.34:06 TWR Go ahead one six three, wind three two zero at five
    CAM-1 Number one and number three
  18.34:10 RDO-2 One six three is cleared to land, we have engine number two shut down, we have only one and three
  18.34:17 TWR Copied today
    PA Everybody, please sit down, everything's under control, we are landing back at Riyadh, please it down and fasten your seatbelts, sit down and fasten your seatbelts, please
    CAM-1 Okay
  18.34:20 RDO-2 Okay
  18.34:25 CAM-1 Complete the final checklist
    CAM-2 Complete, flaps
2:04 18.34:26 CAM-3 Okay, your altimeters are one zero zero seven, set and cross checked three ways, gear and anti-skid is down and checked and your flaps are at thir- twenty two
  18.34:39 CAM-1 Yeah, I know it
  18.34:44 CAM-3 Both loops "A" and "B" are out
    CAM-1 Thank you
1:37 18.34:53 PA (T) Ladies and gentlemen, no need to panic, place your hands behind your head for impact position [Urdu]
  18.35:06 CAM-3 Aft cargo door is opened sir
  18.35:11 CAM-1 Check
    CAM-3 No problem
    PA Now ladies and gentlemen, may I ask you to please put your hands behind your heads for the impact position
  18.35:56 CAM-3 Looking good
  18.35:57 CAM-1 Tell them, tell them to not evacuate
0:30 18.36:01 PA Put your hand behind your head and head between your knees, hands behind your head
    CAM ((Sound similar to door opening))
  18.36:07 CAM-3 No need for that, we are okay, no problem, no problem
  18.36:12 GPWS Minimum --- minimum
  18.36:12 CAM-1 One hundred
    CAM-3 One hundred
  18.36:15 CAM ((Loud squeal begins and continues until end of CVR tape))
  18.36:18 CAM-3 Fifty
  18.36:19 CAM-3 Forty
  18.36:21 CAM-3 Thirty
  18.36:22 CAM ((Loud squeal))
      ((End of CVR tape))
0:00 18.36:30   approximate time of landing

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