Mercury spilled in the baggage hold of Flybe BAe 146-300 G-BTUY (msn E3202) operating from Birmingham to Belfast on 26 April. The highly toxic spill was discovered by baggage handlers at the airport. Althought the spill was very small, the aircraft was immediately cordoned off and the baggage were taken to hospital as a precaution (they were later released after examination). Aside from being toxic, mercury can react with the aluminum in the aircraft’s structure and make it brittle. In 2000, a Malaysian Airbus A330 was written off after a similar spill. The Flybe 146 was closely inspected in Belfast, then flown to Exeter for more comprehensive checks. After the checks had revealed no damage, the 146 was returned to service.
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