An emergency slide on an Emirates Airbus A380 superjumbo was accidentally deployed shortly after it arrived at Manchester Airport on Monday morning.
The slide – which is officially known as a ‘slide raft’ because it can be detached from the aircraft and used as a sea raft in the event of a ditching – appears to have struct a jetbridge that was being positioned at the door where the slide deployed.
Manchester Airport has declined to comment on the incident, but thankfully it is believed that no one was injured in the incident. Accidental slide deployments carry a high risk of injury to airport ground workers.
Photos shared by Dave Branson on Twitter showed the massive 15-metre-long slide fully deployed with emergency workers looking on.
The slide that deployed is known as the U1 Left door because it’s the first door on the upper deck and it’s positioned on the left-hand side of the aircraft. The upper deck emergency exits are more than 25 feet above the ground so to mitigate the risk of passengers freezing in panic from the height, the ramps are curved.
Emergency slides must be able to deploy and inflate in just six seconds, but the slides on the A380 are designed to inflate in just four seconds. Once the deployment is started there is no way to stop it.
The reason for the accidental deployment at Manchester on Monday isn’t yet known but the most common cause is cabin crew failing to place disarm the doors on arrival.
Of course, there is a cross checking procedure to mitigate this risk but even this doesn’t catch every mistake. The A380 also has a special light and alarm to warn crew members that the door is still armed as they go to open the door but, again, this isn’t 100 percent reliable.
The aircraft involved in the incident is believed to be a six-year-old A380 with registration A6-EUN. The aircraft operated flight EK21 and arrived in Manchester at 6:45 am. The return flight (EK22) has been scrapped and passengers are being rebooked.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Emirates said the flight has been “delayed due to a technical issue”.
“Affected passengers are being provided with assistance, and will be re-accommodated on a replacement aircraft due to depart from Manchester on 20th December at 6 am,” an emailed statement from the airline confirmed.
“Emirates apologises for the inconvenience caused. The safety of our passengers and crew is of the utmost importance”.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.