In May 2019, a flight took off from Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto, with plans to land at Sudbury Airport in Ontario. However there was increasingly worse visibility, so the plane flew back to Toronto and landed normally.
While taxiing to the gate, the plane was hit by a fuel truck. The left side of the fuselage and the left propeller sustained damages. The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) eventually ruled that a combination of poor visibility due to darkness, rain, and reflected light on the pilot’s side, as well as the condensation on the windows of the cabin on the truck’s side had led to the collision. No problem, things happen, yadda yadda yadda.
However I strongly suspect that what happened inside the cabin is the kind of thing that’s going to get someone, if not multiple someones, killed. According to the TSB’s report, these were some other incidents that occurred inside the plane just before and after the collision:
- Just before the collision, while the plane was still taxiing, a passenger unlatched their seat belt. When the collision occurred, the passenger was thrown to the ground and became a obstacle to the flight attendants doing their work.
- Other passengers unbuckled their seat belts and stood up as soon as the collision happened, despite being told to “remain seated and stay calm” so the FAs could do their jobs.
- Shortly after the plane stopped, one passenger climbed over the back of their seat, opened the rear emergency door on the right side and jumped out of the plane. At least one other passenger followed them. This was done while the propeller engine was still running.
- A few seconds after that, the flight attendant opened one of the main doors amid pressure from passengers and “verbal threats from one of them.”
- As soon as the flight attendant smelled fuel, she instructed passengers to evacuate the plane. She told them to leave their belongings on the plane but many took their bags with them anyway. Some left the plane and then tried to return to get more of their belongings.
All told, 15 injuries were reported and it took 52 passengers 3 minutes and 38 seconds for the entire plane to be evacuated, “which exceeded the 90 second certification standard for emergency evacuations,” as per the TSB report.
The report continued: “It is important that passengers pay attention to the pre-flight safety briefings, review the safety features card, and follow directions from flight attendants in order to be prepared and to evacuate safely during an emergency.”
Gee, do ya think???
I realize that the world of today is nothing like the world of 50, 30 or maybe even 10 years ago. Many people are more independent thinkers (I don’t mean that in a good way), and are more apt to question authority. But really…during an airline accident?
Flight attendants are trained specifically for situations like these. Sure, part of their job is to give out snacks, food and drinks and to make the spiels for the airline branded credit card. But their real job, and the most important part of their job, is to be there to keep us safe by leading and helping us during an emergency. They’re taught what to do if there’s an emergency happening in the air, on the ground, or in the event of a water landing. And these passengers had the gall to (A) not follow the safety directives that are repeated on every single flight, (B) do their own thing to escape with NO idea of the safety risks involved, and (C) threaten the FA to do what they wanted her to do?
The people on this flight were lucky that only 15 of them had injuries. One of these days the end result will be a whole lot worse and I wouldn’t be surprised if the cause was because the passengers didn’t listen to instructions.
I wonder if the FAA took any of “those” kinds of people into consideration when they did their evacuation tests last year?
Feature Photo: Transportation Safety Board
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary