Alert Air Passenger Warns of Fuel Leak
Air force sergeant spotted leak before 747 headed over the Pacific
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2009 7:31 AM CDT
Loading... Please wait

(Newser) – An eagle-eyed passenger warned a 747 flight crew about a fuel leak on a recent Japan-bound flight from Chicago, CNN reports. Air Force Sgt. Bartek Bachleda, who serves in an air refueling squadron, spotted vapor billowing from behind the wing and realized the jet was losing fuel fast. He alerted a flight attendant, who—after at first brushing him off—told the cockpit crew. The plane landed safely in San Francisco.

"I decided, if the captain doesn't know about this before we go oceanic—meaning once we fly over the ocean—and we're leaking this massive amount of fuel, this is going to be a bad day," said Bachleda, who shot video of the leak from his seat. United Airlines, which says the flight crew had known the plane was losing fuel and had been debating what course of action to take, rewarded Bachleda with first-class tickets.

View 1 image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
You Might Like
Showing 2 of 2 comments
May 22, 2009 5:58 AM CDT
There is a flight engineer on such long-haul flights. The engineer monitors such things as fuel supply, fuel consumption rates, time till empty, miles to empty, etc. I believe that the flight crew was knowledgable about this problem, and its solution choices. The passenger and his video make for nice news. Lets not believe for a moment that this aircraft was about to ditch in the Pacific Ocean because it ran out of fuel.
May 22, 2009 2:03 AM CDT
I want him on my plane when i fly!