Type: 747-244B
Operator: South African Airways - SAA
Where: Indian Ocean Descent
Report No:
Report Date:

Crashed into sea after a fire on the rear cargo deck. Fumes possibly incapacitated the crew or caused a structural break-up.



CA  = Captain

FE  = Flight Engineer

MA  = Mauritius ATC


23:49h UTC

CA:         Er, good morning, we have, er, a smoke problem and

            we are doing an emergency descent to level one

            five, er, one four zero.

MA:         Confirm you wish to descend to flight level one

            four zero?

CA:         Ja, we have already commenced, er, due to a smoke

            problem in the aeroplane.

MA:         Eh, roger, you are clear to descend immediately to

            flight level one four zero.

23:50h UTC

CA:         Roger, we will appreciate it if you can alert, er,

            fire, er, er, er.

MA:         Do you request a full emergency please?  A full


CA:         Affirmative, that's Charlie Charlie

MA:         Roger, I declare a  full emergency.

CA:         Thank you.

23:51h UTC

MA:        (asks for a position report)

CA:         Now we have lost a  lot of electrics. We haven't

            got anything on the aircraft now.

MA:        (asks for an ETA and positions updates)

CA:        (gives both)

MA:        (advises that both runways are available)

CA:         Er, we'd like to track in er, on, er, one three.

MA:         Confirm runway one four?

CA:         Charlie Charlie.

00:03h UTC

MA:        (gives clearence and asks to report passing FL050)

00:04h UTC 

CA:         Kay.   [Last radio contact with ATC]


           [fire alarm bell sounds, followed by interphone


FE:         What's going on now - cargo?

FE:         It came on now afterwards.

           [loud click sounds]

??:         Say again?

FE:         Main deck cargo...then the other one came on as

            well. I've got two.

CA:        (calls for checklist to be read)

           [sound of movements with clicks and clunks]

CA:         ****. It is the fact that both came on, it dis-

                      turbs one.

           [intercom chime while CA is speaking]

??:         Aag!, ****

CA:         What's going on now?

           [sudden loud sound & rapide changes tape testtone]