CITY NEWS SERVICE
A Japan-bound airliner preparing for takeoff from LAX began belching smoke Friday, drawing a crew of firefighters, but the problem turned out to be minor, and the aircraft departed with only a relatively minor delay, an airport spokesman said.
Members of the cabin crew noticed the smoke emanating from the tail section as they were boarding the All Nippon Airways Boeing 777-200, whose passengers had not yet come on board, said LAX spokesman Marshall Lowe.
The Los Angeles Fire Department received a call about the smoke at 12:09 a.m. and sent 35 firefighters to the site, said fire Capt. John Sullivan, adding that the smoke dissipated in 15 minutes.
Marshall said the incident occurred at Gate 104 of the Bradley Terminal when an auxiliary power unit was being checked as part of a pre-flight inspection and the aircraft experienced a wet start, which occurs when an engine in which a quantity of fuel somehow has pooled is being started.
A wet start can produce a variety of serious results, including fire and engine damage. But Flight 1005, which had been scheduled to depart at 12:53 a.m., took off for Tokyo International Airport at 2:34 a.m., Marshall said.