Re: Toilet sucks in child

Date:         15 Jan 97 04:23:56 
From: (Gary Moffitt)
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> 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.
> Two questions arise from this :

> 1. How does an unaccompanied minor find herslf in such a position -
> especially in Business Class?

I think 9 is plenty old to go to the bathroom I think 9 is plenty old to
go to the bathroom by ones self, don't you?

> 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?

Some aircraft toilets use differential pressure to force waste from the
toilet to holding tanks, the waste is really carried on air versus a
stream of water as in a household toilet. On the ground and low altitude
these toilet systems use vacuum blowers to create the differential, at
altitude they use the difference between cabin air and outside ambient.
Lower altitude means less differential, I would suspect the crew also
pulled a couple of circuit breakers to disable the vacuum blower.

I am highly skeptical of the incident descibed. The child would have to
fall completely into the bowl and seal the outlet completely for the
described incident to have occurred.  Urban folklore rumors the same to
have occurred to extremely obese using vacuum toilets, I have never seen
one of these cases substantiated.

Gary S. Moffitt