INCIDENT | British Airways Boeing 777 Emergency Slide Deployed During Pushback

A spokeswoman for British Airways confirmed that the emergency slide was accidentally inflated rather than being activated in response to an actual emergency aboard a Boeing 777-200 headed for Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday morning.

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Around 10 a.m. on Friday, the 25-year-old aircraft appeared to have just pushed back from the gate and was still being towed when the emergency slide on the left-hand side of the aircraft was deployed.

Although there wasn’t really an emergency, a British Airways spokeswoman clarified that calling the fire and rescue services to the location was routine protocol.

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As soon as the plane was rapidly pushed back to the gate, passengers aboard and deplaned onto the jetty rather than the slide, returning to the airport while BA arranged for a new flight to take them to Nigeria.

Although British Airways has stated that it has located a spare plane to operate the flight with more than a three-hour delay.

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In an emailed statement, a spokesperson said: “the aircraft returned to stand and customers disembarked normally.”

“We’ve apologised to customers for the inconvenience caused, have provided them with refreshment vouchers and have arranged a replacement aircraft so that they can continue their journey as planned.”

Although the airline stated that the accident’s cause was still under investigation, early signs point to a mistake.

Despite a variety of measures intended to stop them, accidental slide deployments are surprisingly frequent. The majority occur as a result of cabin crew members opening the door while it is still “armed.”

For this reason, cabin crew are instructed to physically move to the other side of the aircraft while arming or disarming the doors in order to “cross-check” that their colleague has done so while their other employees do the same.

The slide deployment on Friday morning was exceptional, though, because it happened at a door that is only meant to be utilized in an emergency and isn’t typically used by boarding, catering, or cleaning employees.

In fact, the door ought to have been in the armed position when the aircraft was being pushed in preparation for takeoff, which raises the issue of why the control handle was moved.

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