A flight with 326 people on board was diverted to make an emergency landing in the country of Ireland when the pilot accidentally spilled hot coffee over the cockpit control panel over the Atlantic Ocean, according to a report on Thursday. The incident happened in February. The cockpit was apparently filled with the pungent smell of electric burning with no reported injuries or casualties. As per reports, the pilot decided to divert when smoke rising from the panel was noticed.
An Airbus A330-243 was flying to Mexico's Cancun from Frankfurt and landed in Ireland's Shannon when the hot liquid causing a strong electrical burning smell and with smoke ascending from the panel was noticed. The Ccaptain in the nick of time decided to divert, the report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said. The 'coffee' incident occurred when the pilot put his coffee cup minus the lid on the tray table instead of a cup holder. The recorded incident which happened in February reported no injuries. AAIB did not identify the airline in its report but said that it had modified procedures to make sure that the lids for cups are provided for all flight destinations and crews are reminded that they need to use them.
The AAIB in a publicly released document stated the following:
"Coffee was spilled onto the commander’s audio control panel (ACP). This resulted in the failure of his ACP and later, the ACP on the co-pilot’s side. During the failures, the ACPs became very hot and produced an electrical burning smell and smoke. The commander decided to divert to Shannon, Republic of Ireland. The failure of two ACPs caused significant communication difficulty for the flight crew. The operator has taken safety action to reduce the chance of spillage. Additionally, it said that the various ACP failures resulted in communication difficulties. The commander was not able to receive or transmit and could only hear transmissions through the co-pilot’s speaker. There was no interphone between the pilots. The aircraft diverted to Shannon without further incident. The smoke stopped and though there was a residual burning smell, the fumes did not result in injuries to anyone on board."