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Four Ground Workers Taken to Hospital After British Airways Plane at Stuttgart Airport Suffers Hydraulic Leak

Four Ground Workers Taken to Hospital After British Airways Plane at Stuttgart Airport Suffers Hydraulic Leak

a plane parked at an airport

Four airport ground workers at Stuttgart Airport had to be taken to the hospital on Saturday night after a British Airways Airbus A319 suffered a hydraulic oil leak as the aircraft was being prepared for departure to London Heathrow.

Passengers were already boarding the 23-year-old aircraft when the emergency was declared, and everyone was ordered off the aircraft as airport fire services rushed to the plane.

Local media report that the leak occurred when the ground handlers opened one of the cargo doors, leading to a smoke alert and a so-called ‘rapid disembarkation’ of passengers and crew off the aircraft.

A rapid disembarkation is a form of evacuation which typically sees passengers leave the aircraft via a jetty or airstairs rather than via emergency slides. It is a safer method of evacuation when there is no immediate risk of injury or death.

Five workers sustained injuries during the incident and four had to be transported to a local hospital, the Federal Police Service confirmed.

Aircraft hydraulic oil is typically purple in colour and is made to be non-flammable and withstand extreme temperatures. Exposure to hydraulic oil, however, can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems.

Because hydraulic oil is stored under high pressure, in extreme cases, a leak could lead to it being injected under the skin, leading to very serious injuries. Thankfully, no one seriously injured during Saturday night’s incident.

Local authorities say British Airways flight BA921 had already boarded 93 passengers when the evacuation was ordered, although there were no injuries reported amongst the passengers or six crew members.

The Aviation Herald reports that as many as 33 emergency service vehicles were dispatched to the scene, and the incident was only stood down around three hours after the scheduled departure at around 11:40 pm.

The aircraft remained on the ground for most of Sunday but is operating back to London on Sunday evening.

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