Tue, Aug 05, 2008
Plane Evacuated Using Slides After Smoke Reported In Cabin
Tuesday was supposed to mark the grand arrival of the Emirates
Airlines Airbus A380 at Los Angeles International Airport, complete
with a water cannon salute. But the big airliner was upstaged by
the emergency landing of American Airlines Flight 31, which had
just taken off from LAX to Honolulu about 8:48am, when the pilot
thought he smelled smoke in the cabin.
The Associated Press reports passengers were evacuated using
inflatable chutes after an otherwise routine landing. The FAA and
the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said he could not recall the last time
an aircraft deployed evacuation chutes at an airport. "You hear
from time to time about planes returning to airports because an
indicator light went on, but it's pretty rare that they actually
deploy chutes," he said. "That's essentially up to the pilot, who
makes the call based on the particular circumstance he or she
City fire spokesman Brian Humphrey theorized that the pilot's
decision was prompted by a full passenger load. The 757 was
carrying 188 passengers and a crew of six. Humphrey said six
passengers, including a child, were treated for bumps, bruises and
other minor injuries. No evidence of an actual fire was ever
If there really had been a fire, circumstances could not have
been much better. Fire trucks were already in position to spray a
ceremonial water salute over the arriving A380.
Instead, the arrival of the Emirates plane was delayed 45
minutes by the emergency, and the water salute cancelled.
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