Seattle — The Boeing Co, said Saturday a team of experts will study casts of a faulty bulkhead splice found in the wreckage of a Japan Air Lines 747 to determine if it contributed to aviation’s worst single plane disaster.
Jim Boynton, a Boeing spokesman, said casts of the splice in the plane’s pressure bulkhead will be shipped to Seattle for exemption by a team of engineers.
The jumbo passenger jet slammed into a mountain in central Japan with 524 people survived.
The company acknowledged the faulty repairs Friday in a letter to airlines that fly its 747 jets and also said an investigation of the crash indicates “a decompression occurred during the flight due to a rupture” of the bulkhead.
But Boeing also noted that the ongoing inspection of the world’s 747 fleet in the wake of the JAL crash and the crash of a civilian Afghan airliner over Afghanistan, killing all 52 people aboard, official Radio Kabul said Saturday.
The Soviet backed government of Afghanistan said the Bakhtar Airlines plane on a flight from Kabul to Farah province was shot down last Wednesday near Kandahar Airport, 300 miles southwest of Kabul.
Bakhtar is a small domestic airline that operates only about half a dozen Soviet built planes on internal routes.
The plane made brie! Stop at Kandahar and was hit by missiles fired by “counterrevolutionaries’” a term used by the Afghan government to describe government rebels when it took off for Farah.
Radio Kabul said the plane crashed in the Kandahar area and all 47 passengers and five crew members were killed. The radio did not mention the type o! Plane.
The broadcast, monitored in New Delhi, said:
“The bandits shot down a civilian plane of Bakhta1 which had taken off from Kandahar Airport on Wednesday at 11:08 am All 47 passengers and five crew were killed.
“The plane was shot down with surface-to-air American made rockets,” the radio said. This shows the American government’s terrorist acts.”
The radio did not explain how authorities knew the missiles were made in the United States.
If true, this would be the first Afghan passenger plane shot down by Afghan rebels in which there were casualties. The rebels shot a passenger plane belonging to Afghanistan’s Ariana Airlines last September, but it landed safely and there were no casualties.
The U.S. backed rebels have been seeking to overthrow the Soviet supported government in Afghanistan since the Soviets invaded in 1979. About 110,000 Soviet occupation troops are still in Afghanistan.
The radio announcement was the first time the Kabul government has admitted lasting a civilian plane to rebel ground fire.
But an Afghan exile source said three smaller planes belonging to the domestic airline were shot down last year near Kandahar and the city of Herat, 420 miles west of Kabul.
The lost planes were replaced by larger Soviet planes supposed to be able to fly out of range of rebel antiaircraft fire, the source said.
Bakhtar planes have been a target of the Islamic resistance because many of those traveling on the domestic airline are members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, he said.
Although it has been reported that covert U.S. and Saudi assistance has been given to the rebels, reports of actual U.S. made weapons have been rare.
Western diplomatic sources have recently reported that the rebels were using more effective antiaircraft weapons, but did not describe their make or origin.
The sources have said that Soviet air operations near major airports are usually conducted behind a screen of flares in an effort to deflect heat seeking missiles.