Saturday, July 11, 2009

BA evacuates fume-filled US jet!

BA288 on tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 10 July 2009
Passengers used slides to leave the aircraft

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from a British Airways plane in the US after the cabin filled with fumes.

The BA Boeing 747 was due to depart for London Heathrow from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona state.

More than 300 passengers and crew used emergency slides to leave the aircraft. No serious injuries were reported.

BA said there had been reports of smoke as the plane was pulling away from the departure gate. Engineers are trying to find out what happened.

The incident occurred at about 2000 local time on Friday (0300 GMT), Shelly Jamison of the Phoenix Fire Department told the Associated Press.

She said fire crews found smoke in the cabin and hold, but no fire.

One passenger described a scene of panic inside the plane.

"People were coughing and choking and those with children were very worried and so they brought them to the front where they could breathe," Corinne Casazza was quoted as saying by the Press Association.

"We asked if we could open the doors but were told we couldn't because we were still moving.

"There was a lot of pushing and shoving - everyone just wanted to get off the plane," said Ms Casazza, who is from Sedona, Arizona.

"Then I heard someone yell 'fire' and the doors were opened."

BA said all 298 passengers on board flight BA288 had been safely evacuated. The plane was also carrying 18 crew.

"The plane was being pushed back from the stand when there were reports of smoke," a BA spokesman said.

"A decision was taken to evacuate the aircraft following the usual procedures."

About 15 people received minor scrapes and bruises, and one person was taken to hospital with shoulder pain.




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