August 24, 2001; An Airbus A330-243registered as C-GITS operated by Air Transat as Flight TS 236 took off from Toronto at 00:52 (UTC) (local time: 20:52 (ET) on a direct flight to Lisbon Portugal with 293 passengers and thirteen crew. At time of push back, the A330 carried 46.9 tonnes of fuel on board, 4.5 tonnes more than required by regulations.
4 hours into the flight, at 05:03 UTC, Captain Piché and First Officer Dirk DeJager first noticed a low oil temperature indication, and high oil pressure on engine № 2.
At 05:36 UTC, a fuel imbalance condition was indicated on the flight deck. As per standard procedure, the imbalance was corrected by the crew, by transferring fuel from the left wing, to the right wing tank.
Unknown to neither the Captain, nor the First Officer, a tiny fracture had developed in a fuel line to the № 2 (right) engine, which was allowing fuel to vent steadily from the aircraft. Any transferred fuel was subsequently lost through the fractured fuel line, which was bleeding out at approximately one gallon per second. This anomalous condition caused the higher than normal fuel flow through the fuel-oil heat exchanger (FOHE), which in turn led to the indicated drop in oil temperature and a rise in oil pressure for the № 2 engine that the crew initially noticed.
Nine minutes have elapsed since the initial fuel imbalance indication(05:45 UTC), the crew decided to divert to Lajes Air Base in the Azores, then declaring a fuel emergency with Santa Maria Oceanic air traffic control three minutes later (05:48)
28 minutes after diverting(06:13 UTC), approximately 150 nautical miles from Lajes at 39,000 feet in altitude, the dwindling fuel on board claimed its first victim. Engine № 2 flamed out. Captain Piché initiated a descent to 33,000 feet, to attain the calculated single-engine altitude for the weight of his aircraft at that time.
Ten minutes later(06:23), TS 236 transmitted a Mayday to Santa Maria Oceanic air traffic control
Thirteen minutes later(06:26 UTC) and approximately 65 nautical miles from Lajes Air Base, fuel starvation claimed its second victim, engine № 1 flamed out, leaving the passengers and crew to enjoy the serenity of silent flight as they soared on board the worlds largest glider, high over the over the waters of the Atlantic.
The emergency RAT (ram air turbine) deployed, providing essential power for critical sensors and instruments. However, the aircraft lost its main hydraulic power, which operates the flaps, alternate brakes, and spoilers. Only slats would remain powered.
Five minutes later(6:31 UTC), the oxygen masks dropped down in the passenger cabin
Transat 236 was losing altitude at 2,000 feet per minute, with as little as 15 minutes remaining before they would be forced to ditch in the Atlantic.
When the Island finally came into view, TS236 was maneuvered into a 360, then a series of S turns to dissipate excess altitude
At 06:45 UTC, Air Transat 236 touched down hard, at approximately 200 knots, 1,030 feet past the threshold of Runway 33, bounced, then touched down again, approximately 2,800 feet from the threshold. Maximum emergency braking was applied, and the Airbus 330 came to a full and complete stop after 7,600 feet of the 10,000-foot runway. Due to the fact that the anti-skid and brake modulation systems were inop, the eight main wheels locked up; tires abraded and fully deflated within 450 feet.
All hands on board thankfully survived their impromptu introduction to unpowered flight. Fourteen passengers and two crew members suffered minor injuries, while two passengers suffered serious injuries during the evacuation of the aircraft.
The aircraft was able to be repaired and returned to service with Air Transat in December 2001, with the well earned nickname "Azores glider".