Safety recommendations after plane scare

A SERIES of safety measures are being put forward today after it was revealed passengers escaping from a burning plane walked out onto the wing which was on fire.

A SERIES of safety measures are being put forward today after it was revealed passengers escaping from a burning plane walked out onto the wing which was on fire.

A report by the Department of Transport's Air Accident Investigation Branch AAIB has now been published into the incident which took place at Stansted Airport on February 27, 2002.

The right-hand engine of the Ryanair Boeing 737 caught fire as it sat on the tarmac after landing.

The accident investigation report says that of the 117 passengers, 40 evacuated the plane on the right-hand side and six opened the emergency exit above the right wing and walked out - only to be sent back inside by firefighters trying to tackle the engine blaze.

The report states: "About 40 passengers evacuated onto the right side of the aircraft, including six onto the right wing. This placed them in the vicinity of the right engine and the area where the fire crews were directing their firefighting efforts. These six passengers were instructed by the fire crew to return inside the aircraft and seek an alternative exit."

"It is understandable that the passengers did operate these exits since they could not be expected to be as aware of the safety issues, nor to exercise the same discretion as trained cabin crew.

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"Four passengers were treated for minor injuries received during the evacuation."

The evacuation was ordered after ground crew spotted smoke from the engine, alerted the control tower who informed the cabin crew and raised the alarm with the airports fire fighters.

Safety recommendations made in the report include: the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should review the instructions to fire officers, when attending an aircraft fire, to ensure that they tell the flight crew the best route for evacuation.

The report also said airport operators provide suitable video recording facilities at airports operating public transport flights in order to preserve best evidence in the event of an accident or incident.

And that the Irish Aviation Authority review cabin crew training in respect of the operation of all normal and emergency exits, to ensure that crew members are familiar with the different operating procedures.

Examination of the engine showed the fire was caused by the failure of an bearing which led to oil being released into the hot gas path of the jet.

N Were you a passenger involved in this incident or have you been involved in a similar safety scare? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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