Sunday, 15 December 2019

Panic stations.......Qantas captain causes panic evacuation at Sydney Airport

A Qantas Airbus A330 suffered a hydraulic problem shortly after taking off for Perth from Sydney at 0845 on Sunday morning.

The jet was approximately twenty minutes into operating flight QF575 when the Captain elected to return to Sydney and the aircraft landed safely shortly afterwards. Qantas said no emergency was declared and the aircraft taken back to a gate.

Once the aircraft was back on the gate there were reports of a thick haze in the cabin, "likely caused by hydraulic fluid entering the air conditioning unit." Qantas says that while customers may have thought it was smoke, there was no fire.

Even though the aircraft was at the gate, with airbridges attached to the front,  the captain gave an order to evacuate the aircraft and emergency chutes were deployed.  One of the passengers took to social media saying the experience was "terrifying" - and claimed the captain was screaming "evacuate"

Ally Kemp, used Twitter to say "Just had to evacuate my flight to Perth after engineering issues. Everyone had to exit the plane via slide onto Sydney tarmac after the cabin filled with smoke and the captain screamed evacuate." 

Another passenger Niamh Champion said "They came and got us to the gate and everything was fine. And next thing he [pilot] goes, evacuate, evacuate, evacuate." Adding "The hostess opened the door, bang, the chute comes down and everyone starts rushing into the aisle." Although Ms Champion did say the Captain was calm.

Aswin De Silva another passenger said he had "blood gushing out" from an injury sustained during the evacuation. "I landed on my elbow, I didn't really see it at first but after a few seconds, I saw blood gushing out," he told the local Nine News. 

A number of other passengers have spoken out about the panic after being ordered to leave the plane, "Everything was calm and then the captain said evacuate, evacuate, evacuate," a mother said.  one mum said.   Dillon Parker told the ABC news "It ook a few seconds to sink in and then basically it was a mad scurry to go down the slides and get off the plane which was just crazy.".  Fellow passenger Robert said, "Everyone was a bit worried, but relatively calm, then the look of complete panic on the faces of the hostesses after the captain shouted to evacuated scared the shit outa everyone."

Qantas Fleet Safety Captain Debbie Slade said: “We totally understand this would have been a very unusual and probably alarming experience for our customers, so we thank them for giving crew their full cooperation. The crew did a great job of putting their training into action and following the procedures for a set of circumstances like this. We’ll investigate exactly what happened, including liaising with Airbus, before this aircraft is returned to service,”.

Other passengers have praised the crew and captain for the professional way they handled the situation and a number of passengers ave had to receive medical attention for minor injuries sustained during the evacuation. 

Qantas advised it was providing support to customers on the affected flight and managing some delays to other flights that occurred as a result of this incident. The airline extends its thanks to all customers for their patience and understanding.

CASA and the ATSB have been notified and Qantas will assist the ATSB with its investigations.

"It would seem this captain acted with an abundance of caution when ordering this evacuation." A leading check pilot for a major European airline told Air101 on Sunday afternoon. "Whilst it appears to have been just a misting in the cabin,  these leaks can cause irritation to the nose and eyes, which may be a contributing factor for the captain to expedite evacuation."

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