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Passengers Bundled Out of Frontier Aircraft via Emergency Slides After They Get a Whiff of a Strange ‘Odor’

Passengers Bundled Out of Frontier Aircraft via Emergency Slides After They Get a Whiff of a Strange ‘Odor’

a collage of people pushing a inflatable object

Passengers onboard a Frontier Airlines flight from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to Orlando were bundled out of the aircraft via emergency slides in the early hours of Thursday morning after a strange smoke-like odor was detected in the cabin.

One passenger had to be transported to the hospital for a knee injury sustained during the chaotic evacuation, the airline confirmed.

Eye-witness video of the evacuation, which was shared on social media, showed passengers tumbling down one of the two evacuation slides that had been deployed at the rear of the one-year-old Airbus A321neo airplane.

Passengers at the front of the plane also evacuated via the jetbridge which was still attached to the front of the aircraft, although the overwing exits and a set of mid-cabin emergency exits were not used in the evacuation process.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, nine of the 213 passengers onboard the aircraft were injured, with one requiring hospital treatment. None of the four flight attendants and two pilots were injured.

The FAA said the evacuation was ordered after one of the pilots detected the smell of smoke in the cabin.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Denver-based low-cost carrier explained: “As a matter of precaution, the captain issued an evacuation notice. … Initial reports indicate that no visible smoke or fire was observed. All passengers will be re-accommodated on alternate flights.

Using a jetbridge to evacuate an aircraft is commonly referred to as a ‘rapid disembarkation’ and is often used when the aircraft is parked at the gate and there is an imminent risk to safety but not a life-threatening one.

In the event of a ‘rapid disembarkation’, some airlines will utilise just the jetbridge and avoid deploying the emergency slides because the risk of injury is so great.

The Australian flag carrier Qantas was slammed by accident investigators following the evacuation of an Airbus A330 in December 2019 at Sydney Airport after six passengers were injured.

The evacuation took place with the jetbridge attached to the aircraft, but investigators criticized the airline because there was not a proper ‘rapid disembarkation’ procedure in place.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau concluded that, in many cases, a rapid disembarkation procedure using just the jetbridge is preferable to using evacuation slides because there is such a “significant risk of injury”

The ATSB said fumes events were one example of where the use of evacuation slides isn’t necessarily warranted.

View Comments (2)
    • If you don’t take your luggage, you risk theft and the airline refusing compensation. There was no fire in this case, just a person with the nose of a dog. If it were so much of an emergency, they would have used all of the slides and all of the overwing exits.

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