Narrative:South African flight 295 took off from Taipei at 14:23, carrying 159 occupants and 6 pallets of cargo in the main deck cargo hold. At 23:49 the crew reported Mauritius Approach control they had a fire on board. An emergency descent to FL140 was carried out. Mauritius ATC cleared the aircraft to FL50, followed by a approach clearance. The captain's response was the last radio contact with SA295. It appeared that a fire had started in the cargo pallet at position PR. The aircraft had somehow lost control, broke up and crashed into the Ocean.
PROBABLE CAUSE: Fire of an unknown origin had possibly: 1) incapacitated the crew; 2) caused disorientation of the crew due to thick smoke; 3) caused crew distraction; 4) weakened the aircraft structure, causing an in-flight break-up.; 5) burned through several control cables; 6) caused loss of control due to deformation of the aircraft fuselage.
Follow-up / safety actions
Underwater photo of wreckage; Photos courtesy of Oceaneering International, Inc.--website
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Taipei-Chiang Kai Shek International Airport to Mauritius-Plaisance International Airport as the crow flies is 8476 km (5298 miles).
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.