View Full Version : Big stink over Virgin emergency

16th Jan 2003, 05:03

Big stink over Virgin emergency
Thursday 16 January 2003, 16:30PM

Virgin Blue boss Brett Godfrey denied the airline overreacted when a full-scale emergency response was sparked by a smelly Asian fruit.

A Virgin Blue aircraft due to take off from Brisbane on a flight to Adelaide was delayed for four hours when cargo handlers detected a pungent smell.

Police and the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) were called shortly before 7am (AEST) when the cargo hold had been emptied and a box containing durian fruit located.

Police said the owner of the fruit had tried to disguise its unpleasant smell with carpet deodoriser, which had left a residue of white powder.

QFRS senior operations coordinator Tom James said the plane was then evacuated as hazardous chemicals personnel examined the package.

Speaking in Sydney, Mr Godfrey denied staff had been overzealous.

"I don't think in this climate we can be overzealous," he told reporters.

"Serious airlines take safety seriously and we'd like to think we're a very serious airline, so we don't take any chances in this particular climate we're in.

"We decided to deload the aircraft to find out where it (the smell) was coming from and fix the problem."

Mr Godfrey said Virgin Blue was comfortable that it not only met, but exceeded security standards.

"This wasn't a safety issue, this was gross issue - no one wants to fly in an aeroplane that smells like that," he said.

He compared the smell of the gourmet fruit to "something you'd find in your outdoor dunny" adding that "it just is the most pungent, disgusting smell".

"I actually walked out onto the tarmac and I could smell it from 50 feet away, it's not pretty," he said.

2003 AAP

16th Jan 2003, 05:16
CX did a full evacuation after landing several years ago due to
these terds of the fruit kingdom setting off the cargo fire warning.

16th Jan 2003, 05:45
QF had a B767 which was nearly prec disembarked (at the gate) in SIN a few years ago when a female pax was burping after eating a bucketload of durian.

Apparently the stench (which was toward the back of the a/c) smelt exactly like a gas leak - methane ect.

From what I remember there was no fallout against the crew - the Sin gnd staff felt their concerns were valid given the stench.

In this day and age - post sept 11 - personally I would have acted exactly as the VB capt did given the circumstances.


16th Jan 2003, 09:26
You guys have obviously never eaten Durian, but then guys are inclined to eat things that don't smell to good given the chance! :D :D :D

16th Jan 2003, 10:06
You should have seen the numbers of pax they had to give to QF today because of this :D

star gold
16th Jan 2003, 10:15
I've tried that stuff, it's wicked, I don't know how anybody can eat it. I'm not surprised they emptied the aircraft. If you don't get rid of it quick you will never get rid of the smell, especially in an airconditioned (recirculated) environment.

I believe Durian is banned from the MRT in Singapore, with appropriate penalties. An aquaintance in Singapore will only carry it in his car inside 3 layers of airtight packages.

404 Titan
16th Jan 2003, 11:41
Remember my parents use to have a Durian plant down the far end of the back yard in Sydney when I was growing up. Now I know the reason why it was down the far end of the yard. Smelt like a rat that had been dead for a month. Come to think of it the cat and dog never went down there either. God knows why my parents thought it tasted great because the smell of it was gut renching. :( :D

16th Jan 2003, 13:01
I'm trying to imagine the reaction they would have got from the little Beagle in Adelaide if it had've got a wiff of it!:D

16th Jan 2003, 13:43
I've never heard of such a plant, and from the sound of things, i hope i NEVER!

This is all so hilarious, how does one spray carpet deodoriser on an edible fruit?? Is it some kind of preservative :p

As for you Wonderworld...it's nice knowing the thought that Virgin had to allocate pax onto Qantas flights...turns you on.

16th Jan 2003, 16:03
As Boofta has stated - durian have other, 'aircraft unfriendly' attributes besides stinking.

They sweat - emitting a noxious smelling gas. The 'noxious' bit gets up our nose. The 'gas' bit gets up the fire detection sensors in your cargo hold. If the gas reaches a certain density it will activate the cargo fire warning.

Cathay Pacific had a full-blown emergency landing in HKG some years ago because of a cargo fire warning. Subsequent investigation found no sign of fire, but a consignment of durian fruit. Thus durian is forbidden for carriage on CX as well as SQ and most other carriers who know of it.

Therefore, given this knowledge, the DJ story is not merely the stinky story giggle that many have previously alluded to. We should all heartily congratulate the DJ staff who might have avoided a subsequent in flight emergency by offloading the revolting stuff.

16th Jan 2003, 22:51
Is durian available as a crew meal option? I like anything exotic.

17th Jan 2003, 05:41
"As for you Wonderworld...it's nice knowing the thought that Virgin had to allocate pax onto Qantas flights...turns you on."

Ouch sweetie, that hurt! Obviously it turns you off.....:p

17th Jan 2003, 08:31
I heard a rumour that it was a Qantas employee trying to smuggle the Durian fruit on board :eek: .

While I'm here, how long until we get the January issue of 'Voyeur' in the seat pockets of the Qantaslink aircraft? They ended up being a good read ;) .

Cheers, hoss :)

18th Jan 2003, 00:51
hoss -

What ever happened about that magazine thing? Although slightly disturbing that person/s can have access to aircraft like that, it was still I funny episode!

18th Jan 2003, 07:11
We used to carry tons of the stuff on the freighter from Utapao to HKG during the durian season. Had to wind the cabin up to 10,000ft at a high rate after lift off to stop condensation forming. Durian is considered a delicacy around the Far East and a very lucrative business for the importer. As they say, if you can stand the smell, you've got it half licked!:D

AViON calling!!
18th Jan 2003, 09:18
Call me mad but I love the smell of Durian. When you go to a supermarket or fruit stall in Asia during durian season it's all you can smell, however I have never tried it and don't wish to. I have heard it being compared to eating a s*** load of raw garlic. Doesn't taste like it but the smell stays with you for days.

For you international guys, next time you are bored in your hotel room in most countries in Asia, pull out the hotels conditions of stay in the desk draw. Most state that Durian Fruit is banned from guest rooms. It is pretty strong.

fire wall
18th Jan 2003, 11:23
HIALS, not entirely correct. The cargo fire warning system is but a mere photoelectric cell on the 767/747 and I summize 737. As such any fruit vegetable cargo with a high water content loaded high enough so as to be in close proximity to the ceiling ( ie where the cargo fire detectors/photo electric cells are located) and suitably wetted down as is standard practice (so as to offset the heat whilst sitting on the tarmac prior to loading)has the potential to set off such device when the hold cools at altitude and subsequent mist forms....ie blocking sufficient of the light emmiting source to set off an alarm. QF as well as CX have had probs with such.

On the other hand....durian tastes like and smells like....and when eaten make you dry retch as the mouth dries rapidly.....time for another beer!

Hugh Jarse
19th Jan 2003, 05:15
If it tastes like sh!t, and smells like sh!t....it usually is :D But as a student once replied to my question of his culinary sensibility:

"But sir, you eat Vegemite?"

Enough said! :D