Loose wire on smoke-filled Jet2 plane caused a catalogue of failures
A smoke-filled Jet2 plane which landed at East Midlands Airport, causing passengers to jump from the plane wing, got into difficulty because of a loose electrical connection, air investigators have concluded.
The problem was first discovered when crew realised the PA system wasn't working on the flight, which was returning from Ibiza last September.
Several other failures were noticed, including an equipment cooling fan, a radio, weather radar, the autobrake, power to the standby altitude indicator and compass.
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Pilots requested a quick landing at the airport but instrument failure meant they were unable to tell whether the landing gear had been deployed. The plane was forced to fly 1,000ft over the airport in order for ground crew to see whether the wheels had come down.
However, it was too dark to see, and in the end the co-pilot had to look out of the windows of the main cabin to check.
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When the plane eventually landed on the runway, it started to fill with smoke, causing passengers to panic.
As the plane's PA system wasn't working, the crew were unable to announce an evacuation. They tried to use a loud hailer to address passengers, but the volume button had fallen off.
When cabin crew tried to deploy the emergency chute, it failed, so some passengers escaped onto the wing and leapt to the ground instead.
Passenger Malcolm Yates, from Lincolnshire, said people were screaming and that as the intercom failed there was no communication between cabin staff and passengers.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: "When we did come into land... we saw the fire engines and ambulances lined up. The lights were all out. Then the doors didn't open. People started to panic... We were trapped inside.
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"You could smell the burning, a strong electrical burning smell. That's when people started to panic, screaming."
One member of cabin crew only realised the plane was being evacuated when she saw passengers on the wing, says the report.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch concluded all the problems bar the escape chute stemmed from the loose connection, possibly caused by an over-tightened nut.
Since the incident, Jet2 has included a procedure within its manual to help prepare pilots in the event of a repeat and also reduce the chance it will result in an evacuation, the report said.
It also noted smoke started to seep into the cabin because a fan stopped working, creating a build up of dust and oil in the air conditioning.
It was suggested the problem with the escape chute could be because a crew member was more used to opening a door on the opposite side of the plane.
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