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Ten hurt in ‘unnecessary’ plane evacuation at Stansted

LaudaMotion Airbus A320-200 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Laudamotion Airbus A320-214 experienced engine failure as the pilot tried to take off

Ten passengers were hurt when a member of cabin crew ordered an “unnecessary” plane evacuation, an Air Accidents Investigation Branch report has found.

The left engine failed on take-off of a scheduled Laudamotion flight from London Stansted to Vienna in 2019.

Several people were blown over by the exhaust on leaving the plane and as the right engine was still running, passengers could “have been sucked into the engine”, the AAIB report stated.

Laudamotion has yet to comment.

The plane was beginning its take-off at about 20:00 GMT on 1 March when “a loud bang was heard and the aircraft immediately drifted towards the left of the runway”, investigators said.

Image copyright AAIB
Image caption Debris from the left engine was collected from the runway

The pilot of the Airbus A320-214 came to a stop on the runway and twice announced over the public address (PA) system “attention crew: on station”, but the senior flight attendant did not hear.

She then ordered an evacuation of the 169 passengers onboard but the pilot and co-pilot were not informed nor aware until they noticed the evacuation slide had been deployed and passengers were moving across the front of the aircraft.

When the pilot asked the senior flight attendant why this was happening, she said she believed he had ordered an evacuation, the report said.

The pilot noticed that passengers were heading towards the right engine, which was still operating.

“Had any of them entered the right engine’s inlet suction danger area, it is possible that they could have been sucked into the engine,” the report said.

‘Under pressure’

Investigators found there was a “contained failure of the left engine” which was due to a part being “improperly assembled”.

The senior flight attendant told investigators she did not hear the pilot’s announcement to the crew because she was focused on the loud noise of the engine.

With all the passengers looking at her, she felt “under pressure”, “shocked” and “overwhelmed”, the report said.

Due to issues with a phone falling out of its cradle, the senior flight attendant had to communicate with a fellow flight attendant via a combination of phone, PA system and hand signals in a dark cabin.

The report said “a combination of factors overwhelmed” the senior flight attendant and caused her to command an evacuation that was “not necessary”.

Image copyright AAIB
Image caption Infrared CCTV footage showed a passenger who evacuated the aircraft was carrying luggage

“Several” passengers were “blown over by the exhaust” with 10 people receiving minor injuries and two people requiring hospital treatment.

Baggage hindered evacuation

The report also found that a few passengers said they had suffered from post-traumatic stress for which they were receiving treatment.

The operator has since taken safety actions based around the training of its flight attendants.

Investigators also highlighted that “several passengers hindered the evacuation by taking their cabin baggage with them”.

The AAIB has made two safety recommendations in regard to passengers evacuating with carry-on luggage and said “this hazard will still exist in future emergencies unless additional measures are taken”.

Source: BBC |NewsColony

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