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Did explosion cause jet hole?
The Sun ^ | 7/25/08 | STAFF REPORTER

Posted on 07/25/2008 12:59:54 PM PDT by null and void

A GAPING hole which ripped through the belly of a jumbo jet mid-flight may have been caused by an explosive device or a damaged fuselage, aviation experts say.

The packed Quantas Boeing 747 was forced to make an emergency landing in the Philippines today after the hole ripped through the plane’s belly.

Some passengers were so terrified they vomited when oxygen masks has to be used as the Melbourne-bound flight touched down.

Air expert David Learmount said: “It’s possible there was some kind of explosive device in the suitcases. There’s a hole where there shouldn’t be.”

But Mr Learmount, who is Safety Editor at Flight International Magazine, stressed the hole could also have been caused by a weakened hull, causing the belly of the plane to give way.

Of the luggage exposed by the hole, he said: "It's interesting to see them - how else could that be if not an explosion?

"Bags are moved about quite roughly in the hold and the plane was built in 1991 so it has seen a lot of action. If damage was done to the fuselage over a period of time a crack could have developed...weakening to the point where it was blown out."

The US Transportation Security Administration said initial reports show the incident was not related to terrorism.

Aviation expert Chris Yates said: “From the pictures coming in from Manila it’s quite evident that a section of the fuselage gave way in flight.

Tear ... plane is tattered

“As a consequence of this the aircraft experienced rapid decompression. Fast action from the pilot and co-pilot ensured that all those aboard remained safe.”

He went on: “Australian air accident investigators will examine closely the fracture points evident on the skin of the aircraft to determine whether metal fatigue or manufacturing defect caused the panel to be ripped away from the remainder of the fuselage in flight.

“This is not an uncommon occurrence, every year there are reports of panels being lost from aircraft in flight and these instances are rarely, if ever, fatal.”

Passengers spoke of hearing a loud bang and debris flying into the first class cabin as the plane’s flooring gave way, part of the ceiling collapsed and the plane reportedly plunged 20,000ft.

The aircraft touched down safely in Manila at 11.15am local time and amazingly all 346 passengers and 19 crew disembarked normally.

Manila airport operations officer Ding Lima told local radio the plane lost cabin pressure shortly after take-off on the Hong Kong to Melbourne leg of its journey and the pilot radioed for an emergency landing.

Terrifying

He said: “There is a big hole in the belly of the aircraft near the right wing, about three metres in diameter.

“Upon disembarkation, there were some passengers who vomited. You can see in their faces that they were really scared.”

Brit Owen Tudor said passengers feared for their lives as the plane rapidly lost altitude.

“There was an almighty crack and you could hear something happening,” he said.

“Then the oxygen masks fell down and you started dropping down, ears popping, that sort of thing.”

And Phil Restall said passengers were relieved to have landed safely, not realising the severity of the damage to the plane until they got off.

“You see the hole and you realise we were very lucky,” he said.

“Seeing the hole caused a lot of emotion. People were physically shaking. Many realised how close they were to their own mortality.”

English passenger Robin McGeechan said it was a scary moment when the oxygen masks fell down.

“We were told a door had popped,” he said.

“We only realised that there was a great big hole in the plane after we landed.”

Debra Manchester, a housewife from Buckinghamshire, was sitting in first class when the incident began.

She said: “Newspapers and what looked like part of the ceiling flew past me. We didn’t know what was happening to the plane. After a while, things calmed down and there was a deadly silence.

“There was still debris all around our feet but we all started to feel a bit safer when we could take our masks off.”

Mrs Manchester said luggage was “hanging out” of the hole where the hold had been, and the emergency door above appeared to have come loose.

She claimed that 20 minutes after the plane first took off from Heathrow, she heard a loud bang near one of the doors.

“You have to wonder if that explosion could have caused the second one,” she said.

George Kierans said: "For three or four minutes it was very scary stuff. I actually thought it was an engine blew originally. The plane seemed to tilt considerably to one side.

"Obviously when the masks shoot down in front of you, you do realise you’re definitely in a very dangerous situation.”

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said the airline was sending an investigation team, including Qantas engineering personnel, to Manila tonight.

A replacement Boeing 747 to take passengers on to Australia is understood to have departed Manila today and will arrive in Melbourne tomorrow morning.

Peter Gibson, from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, told ABC Radio that initial reports indicated a problem with air pressure in the cabin.

He said: “The pilot has some pressurisation warnings about a door on the left-hand side of the aircraft, but exactly what went wrong is still being determined.”

Initial inspections revealed the aircraft sustained a hole in its fuselage, and it was being inspected by engineers.

INVESTIGATORS should be able to quickly pinpoint the basic reason behind the Qantas plane’s emergency landing in the Philippines, aviation experts said today.

But they warned that a full understanding of the terrifying incident may take much longer.

Although there has been no immediate evidence that terrorism played a part in the incident, investigators will want to look at anything that points towards a deliberately-planted explosive device.

The probe will also concentrate on whether there was a non-criminal explosion of some kind or whether the incident was sparked by something breaking on the plane.

“It should become apparent fairly quickly if something exploded or something broke,” said Kieran Daly, editor of internet news service Air Transport Intelligence.

“When things like this happen there is always the thought that it might be a criminal case. Investigators will also want to see if something like a gas cylinder exploded or that something broke for whatever reason.

“There may also have been some form of structural failure. Sometimes with accidents, the essential gist of the cause is very quickly known, but then it can take a much longer period of time to know exactly what happened.”

Mr Daly cited the case of the British Airways Boeing 777 crash-land drama at Heathrow in January. UK air accident investigators quickly worked out that there was a fuel-supply problem and have already issued four reports.

However, it is likely to be some time before there is a final report in which the investigators will be able to say exactly why power was lost.


TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: airlines; airlinesecurity; qantas; twaflight800; wot
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Explosion.

747.

"Passengers spoke of hearing a loud bang and debris flying into the first class cabin as the plane’s flooring gave way,"

"the incident was not related to terrorism."

1 posted on 07/25/2008 12:59:54 PM PDT by null and void
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To: null and void

Nothing to see here, move along....Lockerbie anyone?


2 posted on 07/25/2008 1:01:03 PM PDT by RadioCirca1970 (Welcome to the Terror Dome....)
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To: null and void

Metal fatigue at the wing root.


3 posted on 07/25/2008 1:03:38 PM PDT by RightWhale (I will veto each and every beer)
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To: null and void
But Mr Learmount, who is Safety Editor at Flight International Magazine, stressed the hole could also have been caused by a weakened hull, causing the belly of the plane to give way.

Really!!!

4 posted on 07/25/2008 1:04:36 PM PDT by Bahbah (Typical white person-Snow white)
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To: null and void
Good thing they fixed those center fuel tanks years ago.
5 posted on 07/25/2008 1:06:19 PM PDT by McGruff ( 'the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee' - Barack Obama)
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To: null and void

interesting that the United States was not even involved, yet the TSA felt compelled to chime in that it wasn’t terrorism, practically before the plane had stopped rolling.


6 posted on 07/25/2008 1:06:26 PM PDT by kms61
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To: RightWhale

Most likely.

Of course, a sudden depressurization of the cargo compartment wouldn’t blow debris INTO the first class cabin, would it?


7 posted on 07/25/2008 1:07:57 PM PDT by null and void (Barack Obama - International Man of Mystery...)
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To: kms61

Yeah. Good thing they’re not protesthing too much isn’t it?


8 posted on 07/25/2008 1:09:15 PM PDT by null and void (Barack Obama - International Man of Mystery...)
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To: null and void

Over pressurization of the luggage area? The forensic people will check for residue if it was an explosion....


9 posted on 07/25/2008 1:09:31 PM PDT by SkyDancer ("What Our Enemies Couldn't Do Our Politicians Will")
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To: RightWhale

Yep. It’s a clean tear, not a jagged hole leftover from an explosion.


10 posted on 07/25/2008 1:09:35 PM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner ("We must not forget that there is a war on and our troops are in the thick of it!"--Duncan Hunter)
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To: null and void

Don’t know if the cargo area is pressurized. Once the hole opened the wind might be considerable in there.


11 posted on 07/25/2008 1:11:57 PM PDT by RightWhale (I will veto each and every beer)
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To: kms61
yet the TSA felt compelled to chime in that it wasn’t terrorism, practically before the plane had stopped rolling.

But you feel safer now. Mission Accomplished!

12 posted on 07/25/2008 1:12:18 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy ("Well let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel's," - BroBama)
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To: null and void
 

Oh really??

The US Transportation Security Administration said initial reports show the incident was not related to terrorism.

 

13 posted on 07/25/2008 1:12:59 PM PDT by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: null and void

Could be metal fatigue...


14 posted on 07/25/2008 1:18:31 PM PDT by BenLurkin
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To: RightWhale
Don’t know if the cargo area is pressurized.

I don't know either, but I have seen enough crash test/simulation footage that shows the flooring collapsing into the cargo area when said cargo area is abruptly depressurized to think it likely.

Besides, structurally, what holds pressure better, a perfect cylinder, or a cylinder with a big flat floor for one side?

15 posted on 07/25/2008 1:20:20 PM PDT by null and void (Barack Obama - International Man of Mystery...)
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To: null and void
I hate flying. While this incident is different, our plane had to abort landing (TWICE) at Charles de Gaulle in Paris this spring because of high winds. It was terrifying. I just can't imagine what those folks went through.

CC&E

16 posted on 07/25/2008 1:21:18 PM PDT by Calm_Cool_and_Elected (So many books, so little time!)
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To: BenLurkin

Could be a lot of things. Smart money is on metal fatigue.


17 posted on 07/25/2008 1:21:58 PM PDT by null and void (Barack Obama - International Man of Mystery...)
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To: Calm_Cool_and_Elected
I hate flying.

Me too. My arms get so tired...

18 posted on 07/25/2008 1:23:03 PM PDT by null and void (Barack Obama - International Man of Mystery...)
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To: RightWhale
"Metal fatigue at the wing root."

The metal starts missing at the rivet line...not something one sees from an explosion.

19 posted on 07/25/2008 1:24:58 PM PDT by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: null and void
I don't know either, but I have seen enough crash test/simulation footage that shows the flooring collapsing into the cargo area when said cargo area is abruptly depressurized to think it likely.

Yes, it's pressurized. That's why Itchy and Scratchy can ride down there and not be dead when you get to your destination.

20 posted on 07/25/2008 1:25:55 PM PDT by Ol' Dan Tucker (While the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power.)
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To: Ol' Dan Tucker

Good point.


21 posted on 07/25/2008 1:26:34 PM PDT by null and void (Barack Obama - International Man of Mystery...)
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To: RadioCirca1970
I can't stand it when they rule out terrorism before they even know what happened. It makes it look like they are trying to cover something up. I trust them a little less every time they issue a denial immediately after an incident.
22 posted on 07/25/2008 1:28:09 PM PDT by peeps36 ( Al Gore Is A Big Fat Lying Hypocrite. He Pollutes The Air By Opening His Big Mouth)
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To: null and void

any passengers with connections to Whitewater or Vince Foster? (I’m keeeeeeding......)


23 posted on 07/25/2008 1:30:53 PM PDT by isom35
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To: null and void

any passengers with connections to Whitewater or Vince Foster? (I’m keeeeeeding......)


24 posted on 07/25/2008 1:30:54 PM PDT by isom35
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To: null and void
INVESTIGATORS should be able to quickly pinpoint the basic reason behind the Qantas plane’s emergency landing in the Philippines, aviation experts said today.
They might want to consider starting from a fairly reasonable presumption -- the basic reason behind the emergency landing may have had a little something to do with the gaping hole in the side of the airplane. Sheesh!!
25 posted on 07/25/2008 1:31:20 PM PDT by Bob
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To: null and void

“the plane reportedly plunged 20,000ft.”

They say this like the incident cause the plane to lost its ability to stay aloft, and was in danger of crashing. Undoubtedly, the pilot followed standard procedure to calmly and deliberately fly the plane to a much lower altitude where the air is thicker, and oxygen masks are not needed.

No “plunging” involved.


26 posted on 07/25/2008 1:33:04 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Guns don't kill people, criminals and the governments that create them do.)
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To: milford421; Calpernia; Velveeta; DAVEY CROCKETT

Ping.


27 posted on 07/25/2008 1:34:09 PM PDT by nw_arizona_granny ( http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1990507/posts?page=451 SURVIVAL, RECIPES, GARDENS, & INFO)
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To: null and void

I remember seeing retired passenger aircraft in the AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson that were being retrofitted in the cargo area. They were experimenting on using reinforced containers in the luggage area to allow for bombs to blow out the side of the aircraft, but not allow the blast to destroy or blow into the aircraft. Basically enough to allow the plane to land. This was in the early 90s.


28 posted on 07/25/2008 1:35:23 PM PDT by IYAS9YAS
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To: RadioCirca1970

Make sure you have your “Terrorists are responsible for everything in the world.” tinfoil hat screwed on tight.
8^,


29 posted on 07/25/2008 1:35:51 PM PDT by dbacks (Should we really elect a man that would not be allowed to be an airport baggage screener?)
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To: Southack
The metal starts missing at the rivet line...not something one sees from an explosion.

I'm not familiar with aircraft design, but there appears to be an inner wall (green) and the outer hull wall (clean tear). The green inner wall looks to be very jagged. Could it have been blown by explosion and placed pressure on the outer wall in such a manner as to cause it to rip at the joint?

30 posted on 07/25/2008 1:40:01 PM PDT by IYAS9YAS
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To: null and void
"the incident was not related to terrorism."

That's the standard line, even when they are clueless as to the cause.

31 posted on 07/25/2008 1:41:10 PM PDT by isrul (Help make every day, "Disrespect a muzzie day.")
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To: peeps36
I can't stand it when they rule out terrorism before they even know what happened. It makes it look like they are trying to cover something up. I trust them a little less every time they issue a denial immediately after an incident.

Me too. That's precisely why I quoted that little tidbit from the article.

32 posted on 07/25/2008 1:42:37 PM PDT by null and void (Barack Obama - International Man of Mystery...)
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To: RadioCirca1970

TWA 800?


33 posted on 07/25/2008 1:45:43 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: null and void

“Folks, this is your Captain....”


34 posted on 07/25/2008 1:45:46 PM PDT by wolfcreek (I see miles and miles of Texas....let's keep it that way.)
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To: Ol' Dan Tucker
That's why Itchy and Scratchy can ride down there and not be dead when you get to your destination.

But they may still be doped out of their little gourds. I had to move a 120 lb dog that was too stoned to walk on her own after a trip. I later told the vet about it, and he said Oops! Maybe too much for her.

/johnny

35 posted on 07/25/2008 1:46:38 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Bless us all, each, and every one.)
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To: Bob

It must have been an explosion in the central fuel tank. /sarc


36 posted on 07/25/2008 1:46:52 PM PDT by expatpat
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To: Beelzebubba

“Plunging” sounds more dramatic and sells more papers...


37 posted on 07/25/2008 1:47:09 PM PDT by null and void (Barack Obama - International Man of Mystery...)
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To: null and void

The main lines of separation are along structural members, the hole itself is somewhat small and seems to be located between fuselage structural members.

There seems to be no shrapnel marks at or near the hole which would be visible with the amount of missing material.

You would see it near the wing root and on the forward leading edge of the wing itself.

I’m voting fatigue on this one.


38 posted on 07/25/2008 1:48:44 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour
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To: expatpat
"Michael Rivero...white courtesy phone."
39 posted on 07/25/2008 2:05:56 PM PDT by a6intruder (downtown with big bombs, 24/7, rain or shine, day or night)
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To: null and void

Holes don’t appear in jets without an explosion, so I would venture that an explosion is a good guess. And it was coming from London, Heathrow, wasn’t it?


40 posted on 07/25/2008 2:09:46 PM PDT by Boagenes (I'm your huckleberry, that's just my game.)
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To: Calm_Cool_and_Elected

I was on two Southwest flights in two day when they had to abort the landing. I think it was the same pilot. My brother, who a captain for UPS, asked me if I was bucking for a world record. It has only happened to him (as a passenger) once.


41 posted on 07/25/2008 2:16:13 PM PDT by Lobbyist (I want my American dream!!!!)
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To: null and void

Maybe the auto-pilot was overinflated...


42 posted on 07/25/2008 2:16:38 PM PDT by meyer (...by any means necessary.)
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To: Boagenes
Holes don’t appear in jets without an explosion, so I would venture that an explosion is a good guess. And it was coming from London, Heathrow, wasn’t it?


Not always the case... remember the 737 in Hawaii that lost the top of it's fuselage?

Too soon to jump to those conclusions. I can't tell from the pictures if that panel is removable (i.e. bolted in place) or riveted. As a previous post said, the panel came off quite cleanly.... bad/corroded rivets? ...or just poorly fastened on?

43 posted on 07/25/2008 2:19:24 PM PDT by az_gila (AZ - need less democrats)
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To: Oztrich Boy
Note that there is no attibution, and no "chiming in." The best I could find from any source was a statement from a Bangkok(!) newspaper that "someone" at TSA allegedly said, "anonymously" that "initial indications are not terrorism."

Hardly official trumpeting, even if bangkok and australian papers can be believed on this or other subjects.

44 posted on 07/25/2008 2:19:46 PM PDT by BohDaThone
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To: Oztrich Boy
Note that there is no attibution, and no "chiming in." The best I could find from any source was a statement from a Bangkok(!) newspaper that "someone" at TSA allegedly said, "anonymously" that "initial indications are not terrorism."

Hardly official trumpeting, even if bangkok and australian papers can be believed on this or other subjects.

45 posted on 07/25/2008 2:23:56 PM PDT by BohDaThone
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To: Boagenes

Gee an explosive that leaves the luggage unmoved?
You just saw a storm in Texas that had 100 mph winds. This plane was doing almost 500 mph. Think.


46 posted on 07/25/2008 3:07:24 PM PDT by Domangart (editor and publisher)
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To: Domangart
Gee an explosive that leaves the luggage unmoved?

Makes about as much sense as "This plane was doing almost 500 mph. Think."

How could a 500 mph wind NOT move the luggage?

47 posted on 07/25/2008 3:17:45 PM PDT by raybbr (You think it's bad now - wait till the anchor babies start to vote!)
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To: null and void
Just looking at some other pictures on the Internet and taking a good educated guess I'll say it was one thing led to another, first the sheet metal panel came off, and then the next layer was breached.

My first guess is that wing wasn't attached as good as it should be. I noticed the first sheet metal layer pretty much came off as a whole unit except for a small pieces toward the front and up aways, . I think if it was an explosion, it would of punched a hole through the sheet metal instead of taking the whole panel off.

My second thought is that this panel could of been taken off for maintenance at one time and never put back in place properly with the correct screws, rivets, etc, or the screws, rivets, etc are not holding up, but I would hope the second layer would be able to hold. Never the less what ever the cause I'm sure the pajamas patrol will reveal more out of this event then they will want to admit.

48 posted on 07/25/2008 3:27:52 PM PDT by ReformedBeckite
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To: Boagenes
Holes don’t appear in jets without an explosion

This one did:


49 posted on 07/25/2008 3:31:34 PM PDT by null and void (Barack Obama - International Man of Mystery...)
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To: null and void

So much for the first class seating, but what a view. If only you could remove the steel fuselage fragments from your eyes.


50 posted on 07/25/2008 3:34:14 PM PDT by gathersnomoss (General George Patton had it right.)
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