If you’re keeping a running list of all the things that could potentially go wrong with Boeing’s planes, you can add “mysteriously ejects its own emergency inflatable evacuation slide” to the list, as a Milton, Massachusetts, family discovered yesterday afternoon.
According to a Delta Airlines spokesperson, the deflated slide came from a flight that was en route from Paris to Boston on Sunday. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration also confirms that as the aircraft approached Boston’s Logan Airport the pilot reported a loud and mysterious noise but was still able to safely land the plane. It sounds like a mystery you’d want to solve before touching down with a 45 tonne vehicle moving at 290 kilometres per hour, but thankfully there was no incident.
The evacuation slide is one of several safety measures included on commercial airliners and is designed to deploy and quickly inflate (regulations require them to fully inflate in less than 10 seconds) allowing passengers to safely exit the craft through its doors and emergency exits that are located more than six feet from the ground.
When deflated and packed away, the slides are small enough to be integrated into the bottom of aircraft doors, or in compartments near a plane’s exits so that they’re automatically deployed when the doors are opened in an emergency. How this slide somehow managed to fall off this flight is still unknown, but a Delta maintenance team is currently inspecting the craft and investigating how this could have happened.
No one was hurt when the evacuation slide landed in Wenhan Huang’s yard, although a neighbour was apparently a few feet from where it landed and could have been seriously injured had it hit her. Regrettably, just before impact, the slide did take out several branches of Huang’s Japanese maple tree, but there’s no word on whether Delta plans to compensate the homeowner for his loss.