Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Evacuation stories from the Biman accident in Dubai

Biman A310Yesterday, an aircraft accident occurred at Dubai International Airport after a Biman Airbus A310 rejected takeoff. The nose gear collapsed, the aircraft pitched forward, and ultimately skidded to a stop near the end of the runway, resting on its nose and its engine nacelles. (For details about what happened, see previous post.)

All 236 aboard Biman Flight BG006 were evacuated from the aircraft using emergency slides. A report about the evacuation on the Gulf News website says that more than twenty of the passengers were hurt during the evacuation. Some injuries occurred because one of the slides did not reach all the way to the ground.

Here are a few passenger 'first person' accounts from that same news report:
"I fell on my back and got my arms and neck sprained," said Abdul Qader, a passenger who was travelling along with his 22-year-old daughter Noorjahan.

The passengers said no one listened to the announcements that were being made by the cabin crew to remain calm.

"Even before the aircraft could stop, many of the passengers just got up from their seats trying to reach out for their hand baggage from the overhead cabins. Children were crying, mothers were screaming.

"Everyone thought that at any given moment the aircraft was just going to explode," said a passenger, 55-year-old Abdul Bashar, who sustained bruises on his feet, hands and legs.

He said panic gripped the passengers when the aircraft cabin filled with black smoke making it difficult to breathe...

"When the aircraft came to a halt, all the passengers who were seated in the back seats fell on the ones who were seated into the front rows," said Nuruzzaman, another passenger.

"The airplane started to take off, and about 30 seconds later it became very bumpy and after that I heard a bang and the plane started to shake," recalled Mohammad Jahn, 30.

He said: "The cabin crew were also panicking. Initially nothing was done by the crew to help us, and they refused to open the door, saying that there was nothing to worry about."
Another article -- also published by Gulf News -- talked about the people who were injured in the evacuation. Most of the injuries were relatively minor. Only one woman needed to be taken to a hospital.
Abdul Rahman, the husband of the 54-year old woman who was taken to the hospital, told Gulf News that a combination of smoke and passengers' rush to exit the aircraft was to blame for his wife's injuries.

His wife, Mariam Begum, a UK resident of Bangladeshi origin, was treated at the trauma centre for lacerations on her forehead, which required stitches, and scratches on her left hand.

"We were taxiing down the runway and something went wrong with the tyres. And then my wife saw fire in the engine. Smoke filled the cabin," he said.

At that point, he said everyone started to panic.

"There was too much smoke. Nobody could see anything. Everybody was pushing, so she fell down. They all wanted to get out at the same time," he said.
Fortunately the woman's injuries were not as severe as originally feared and she was later discharged from the hospital.

[Photo Source]