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At 35,000 Ft Arsonist Sets Multiple Fires Onboard Etihad Airways Flight 461

February 19, 2014 – Authorities in United Arab Emirates have detained 12 passengers in connection to multiple fires set onboard an Etihad Airways Boeing 777-300ER flight from Australia to Abu Dhabi. 

Flight EY461 had climb to 35,000 feet when the aircraft smoke alarms went off. The flight crew scrambled throughout the plane to locate the fire, putting out one fire after another. 

An apparent arsonist had managed to light multiple fires onboard the Abu Dhabi bound flight. Passengers had indicated that one or more passengers had set five separate fires in different toilets over the course of the flight.


One of the passengers who was sleeping at the time reported she was awakened by the alarm, it was dark and smoky, the cabin crew ran down the aisle to the bathroom opened the door she could see flames coming out of the bathroom bin. The fire was quickly put out. 

Passengers thought that was the end. However, the fires continued to be set throughout the aircraft even after the toilets were being watched by the crew. One passenger said ‘We were actually told that the plane would have burst into flames if it the fire had been spotted 90 seconds later.’ 

Flight 461 made an emergency landing in Jakarta. The passengers were all questioned and went through a security check. Passenger carryon luggage was searched and lighters and matches were confiscated. 

After a two hour layover in Jakarta the passengers were allowed back on the flight and the Boeing 777 departed for Abu Dhabi. Enroute another fire was set in a bathroom. The pilot ordered the cabin crew to stand outside each bathroom until the aircraft landed.



One passenger said ‘When we eventually set off, it happened again and I just thought we were goners I couldn’t let go of my husband’s hand.’ Another other passenger said “The fact that they let everyone board again, that was scary”. The ground crew had reported that burned tissue paper in the toilets appeared to be the source of the smoke and fire. The carrier has confirmed no injuries and no arrests.

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