Re: Toilet sucks in child

Date:         15 Jan 97 04:23:56 
From: (Louis A. Ramsay)
Organization: Netcom
References:   1
Followups:    1
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In <airliners.1997.191@ohare.Chicago.COM> (Peter
Little) writes:
>On 7 Jan 1997, a South African Airways  A320 [Flight SA327] flight
>from Johannesburg to Cape Town, the pilot had to decrease altitude in
>order for a 9 year old child to be pulled free from the toilet by a
>doctor that was on board after it had sucked her in. The child was
>later admitted to hospital with external and internal injuries to her
>private parts - which required surgery.
>This was reported today [8 Jan 1997] in The Natal Witness and on
>national television - SABC News.
>Two questions arise from this :-
>1. How does an unaccompanied minor find herslf in such a position -
>especially in Business Class?
>2. What was the reason to decrease altitude in order for the passenger
>to be freed from the toilet?? Are the toilets at a different pressure
>to that of the rest of the cabin?

     A possible answer to the second question would be the drain cap
may have been seated improperly and came loose.  This would result is
there being cabin pressure on the person sitting on the toilet, but
with outside pressure in the toilet and, on the person's posterior.
Seems to me I have heard of this type of incident in the past - the
earliest recollection being on a DC-6 (of course, the DC-6 was one of
the earlier pressurized aircraft).

     The decrease in altitude would be to allow de-pressurizing the
cabin thus equalizing the pressure inside and outside of the cabin.  At
that time, the person on the toilet could stand up and some sort of
"seal" would have to be jammed in the toilet - a wet blanket would be a
good possibility - before the plane climbed back to cruise altitude.