Passengers arrive at final destination after slide malfunction
Updated On: Jun 30 2014 04:08:14 PM CDT
Two flights have left Wichita carrying passengers to their destinations, after their original flight made an emergency landing at Mid-Continent airport.
United Airlines flight 1463 left Chicago O'Hare at 8:36 p.m. The flight was en route to John Wayne airport in Orange County, Calif., but landed in Wichita around 10:30 p.m. after the emergency slide deployed during the flight.
Anthony Talerica, passenger, said it was a scare in the air.
"Heard a little popping sound and the hissing of something inflating," Talerica said. "It was kind of freaky. My first thought was that the air masks deployed but I didn’t see mine."
According to Flight Aware, the plane was flying at 38,000 ft. at 10:05 p.m. In 12 minutes, the plane dropped to 11,000 ft.
Arsalan Ahmed, United Flight 1463 passenger, said it looked like a raft in the back of the plane.
"It was actually a slide, had like exploded in the back and totally took over the whole back room," Ahmed said.
A spokesman with the FAA tells Eyewitness News an emergency evacuation slide inadvertently deployed in mid-flight. Initial reports that a passenger opened a door during the flight were false. The FAA spokesman said "it is impossible to open a door at that altitude."
"The pilot came back to examine what occurred and I found it kind of amusing because he kind of shook his head and said 'holy shmoley,'"
- Teresa Hollander, passenger
United Airlines released a statement saying 96 passengers and five crew members were on board the Boeing 737-700. All passengers were seated at the time the slide deployed. No one was hurt.
After a few moments of panic on the plane, passengers said everyone remained very calm and the flight crew acted quickly to make sure everyone was okay.
"The pilot came back to examine what occurred and I found it kind of amusing because he kind of shook his head and said 'holy shmoley,'" laughed another passenger Teresa Hollander. "He’d never really seen that happen before."
Audio between the tower dispatcher and pilot indicated the plane needed inspected before traveling further.
Tower: Do you have any injuries?
Pilot: No. Everything's fine. Just a door light. Everything's fine. Just want to get on the ground and have someone look at it.
Passengers were taken off the plane about an hour after landing.
Mike Schroeder, who was flying back home to California, said he heard a hiss and a pop, then saw the slide starting to expand.
"We've been flying for years, I've never seen this before," Schroeder said. The crew also said they've never experienced a similar incident.
United Airline's maintenance crew is inspecting the plane to determine the cause.
The passengers were taken to a nearby hotel overnight while United rescheduled their flights. The first flight left Wichita at 6:20 a.m. Monday, a second took off around 11 a.m.