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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Drama at city airport as flyers jump out of plane

Fire Alarm Triggers Evacuation: On To Wing, Then Tarmac; Some Hurt

Mumbai: Mumbai airport witnessed dramatic scenes on Friday evening when over 150 passengers of a Jet Airways flight to Chennai were ordered to evacuate the flight on an emergency basis after passengers saw smoke inside the cabin—close to the left wing—and pointed it out to the crew.
    But the inflatable evacuation chutes at two of the exits near the middle of the aircraft failed to open, forcing many of the passengers to jump on to one of the wings and then jump down to the tarmac. Three of the passengers suf
fered fractures and a dozen more received minor injuries in the process. All of them were given first aid by Mumbai International Airport Limited officials and those who suffered fractures were taken to hospital after that.
    The incident took place around 9 pm when flight 9W2302, already 45 minutes behind schedule, was on the taxiway of the airport just before takeoff. "One of my co-passengers saw the smoke and immediately alerted the
cabin crew,'' Shrikanth Barhate, one of the passengers aboard the Boeing 737 aircraft, told TOI minutes after the dramatic escape.
    One cabin crew member went into the cockpit to inform the commander as others searched for the source of the fire. "Then, all of a sudden, we were told to evacuate and the emergency exits were opened,'' Barhate said.


At 9 pm on Friday, Jet flight 9W2302 to Chennai is waiting on the taxiway A passenger notices smoke, alerts crew members Commander announces immediate evacuation Emergency exit doors near the middle of the aircraft are opened No inflatable slides, so flyers jump onto wing 3 sustain fractures, a dozen minor injuries
No trace of fire, says Jet
    The front and rear exits of the flight were also thrown open, he added, but not too many people could use them because the aisle was crowded. "Many of us, who were nearer the emergency exits in the middle, rushed there,'' he explained.
    It was there that the passengers realised that there was no inflatable slide to help them get off the aircraft and they would have to jump off the flight. Many of the flyers first jumped on to the wing and then jumped more than 12 feet to land on the tarmac, suffering fractures and bruises in the process.
    Barhate himself suffered minor injuries. "I had taken off my shoes and was relaxing when the flight attendant barked out the evacuation orders. I just jumped off the aircraft with my shoes in hand,'' he said, adding that an elderly woman who jumped after him apparently sustained serious injuries.
    An MIAL spokesperson confirmed the incident. "Jet Airway's flight to Chennai reported fire in one of its engines when it was still on the taxiway,'' the official said. "But no fire was detected,'' he said.
    A Jet Airways spokesperson said the commander on board was informed of "an alleged engine fire''. There was no visible trace of the fire but the commander still proceeded to declare a "precautionary emergency'', the spokesperson said, adding that a "thorough inspection of the engine was carried out'' after the evacuation.


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