In The Event Of An Emergency, Something Something Doors

| No Comments

It's interesting how different people can see the same facts and have completely different conclusions. Take this report of an incident involving a Ryanair 737 after landing at Stansted (London) Airport in February of 2002. The crew noted vibration in the right engine, and the control tower saw the engine on fire and dispatched the fire crew. That's where we pick up the story...

The GMC [ground controller] repeated the transmission:

"TOWER REPORTS FROM A [airport operations] VEHICLE THAT SAID THERE'S SMOKE COMING FROM YOUR NUMBER TWO ENGINE. CAN YOU CONFIRM THAT FOR ME. LOOKS LIKE THERE IS SOME SMOKE"

The time was 1718 hrs. The commander instructed the first officer to shut down the right engine, and the first officer advised the GMC that:

"WE'RE SHUTTING DOWN, WE HAVE VIBRATIONS"

The GMC asked the aircraft to repeat the response. The commander took over the radio from the first officer and instructed him to start the Auxiliary Power Unit. The commander then informed the GMC that:

"WE'RE SHUTTING DOWN THAT ENGINE. CAN YOU GET THE FIRE SERVICE OUT TO US TO CHECK IT OUT THEN"

At 1718:15 hrs, the GMC initiated an Aircraft Ground Incident using the Omni Crash Alarm, alerting Airfield Operations and the Airfield Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (RFFS) by telephone.

. . .

Fire One advised:

"A COMPLETE SHUTDOWN AND AN EVACUATION AT THIS TIME BECAUSE YOU DO HAVE SMOKE BILLOWING FROM NUMBER TWO ENGINE"

The commander replied:

"IN THAT CASE, WE WILL EVACUATE THE AIRCRAFT"

'Fire One' acknowledged. The time was 1720:55 hrs.

. . .

At approximately 1721:30 hrs, the commander ordered the passengers and crew to evacuate the aircraft. In accordance with Company Standard Operating Procedures, he left the decision as to which exits were to be used to the cabin crew. At that time 'Fire One' called the aircraft saying:

"[Operator] FROM FIRE ONE, CAN YOU MAKE SURE YOU EVACUATE PORT SIDE"

This was not acknowledged. The cabin crew opened the Type I exits at the front and rear of the cabin. The No 2 CCM [cabin crew member] found the forward right door (R1) difficult to open and sought the assistance of the SCCM after he had opened his door (L1). Likewise the No 3 CCM required help from a male positioning cabin crew member to open the rear right door (R2). Both the SCCM and the positioning crew member were each able to operate these doors unaided. Passengers opened the overwing exits. Four positioning cabin crew assisted the operating cabin crew during the evacuation. About 40 passengers evacuated onto the right side of the aircraft, including six onto the right wing. This placed them in the vicinity of the right engine and the area where the fire crews were directing their firefighting efforts. These six passengers were instructed by the fire crew to return inside the aircraft and seek an alternative exit. The passengers who evacuated on the left side used the doors. Members of the fire crew, cabin crew and airfield staff escorted the passengers away from the aircraft.

So there were a couple of little 'oopsies' in the evacuation. These were noted in the official report and a safety recommendation was given:

Safety Recommendation 2004-53

It is recommended that the Irish Aviation Authority and JAA review the requirements for cabin crew initial and refresher training in respect of the operation of all normal and emergency exits, to ensure that crew members become, and remain, familiar with the different operating procedures, and opening characteristics, in both normal and emergency modes of operation.

But to read the Evening Telegraph's version of the story, the cabin crew couldn't tell the emergency doors from the lavatory doors:

Cabin crew on a Ryanair jet had not been trained properly to open the emergency doors, it was revealed today.

A damning report on the training procedures of the budget airline found that staff were not fully prepared to cope with an emergency.

It comes after 115 passengers had to be evacuated from a Boeing 737 at Stansted airport with flames shooting from the rear of the aircraft's starboard engine in 2002. Passengers began to panic and there was "pushing and shoving". The Air Accidents Investigations Branch report said most of the crew were not properly drilled in opening exit doors and demanded a review of training.

Leave a comment

Pages

Powered by Movable Type 4.34-en

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Chris published on August 2, 2004 8:33 PM.

Strange Bedfellows was the previous entry in this blog.

How Are We Supposed To Take Your Coup Seriously If You Use 'VW' As A Code Name? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.