Glasgow Airport evacuation: Passenger tells of panic on Jet2 plane

Passengers are forced to use emergency chutes to evacuate the plane

Passengers on an Alicante-bound plane from Glasgow Airport have described "sheer panic" after "swirling" smoke in the cabin forced an emergency stop.

Stephen McFadden said "people started running" as the pilot of the Jet2 737 shouted "get out, get out" following the emergency stop at 07:40.

A total of 20 passengers were injured - six of whom attended hospital, with one being detained.

The runway reopened at 10:00. An investigation is now under way.

Mr McFadden described how he and his young family had to disembark the aircraft following the emergency stop.

Flights affected

  • 14 flights delayed
  • Six inbound flights diverted - two to Edinburgh, two to Manchester, one to Prestwick and one to Aberdeen.
  • Five flights cancelled - two inbound from London City and London Gatwick and three outbound to Dublin, London City and London Gatwick.

He said: "We were careering up the runway and smoke started belting out of all the air vents with a smouldering smell.

"Then the brakes went on and the emergency chutes went out and we were all evacuated.

"I have a nine-week-old daughter and a four-year-old daughter. I had my nine-week-old attached to my chest as I went down the emergency chute and my wife had our four-year-old and was in tears."

Mr McFadden said the scene "was like something out of a movie".

He added: "There was panic, people started running and I shouted 'slow down', and then the pilot shouted 'get out, get out'.

"It was just sheer panic, something no-one would want to go through again."

The passenger said he and others then had to wait to find out what would happen with their travel arrangements.

Another passenger, Graham Divers, from Glasgow's Carmunnock area, said: "I was sitting in row 11 and I could smell smoke as we were accelerating hard.

"I looked up. One or two passengers, including myself, had our reading light on and when I looked up to the lamps and the ceiling, I could actually see smoke swirling around and I thought, oops, there's something not right here.

By Jim Ferguson, Aviation Journalist

I suspect this will have been caused by oil from either the Auxiliary Power Unit or the engine getting into the air conditioning system.

Once the oil heats up it creates smoke and fumes, which can be toxic. Of course, it shouldn't happen, but it does occasionally, perhaps two or three times a year in the UK.

If you are the captain you don't hang about in that situation - you get everyone out immediately, and the aircraft would have come to a stop with quite a jolt.

It is not uncommon for people to be hurt going down the escape chutes. The aircraft has to be completely cleared in 90 seconds, and people are jumping down with their adrenaline pumping, maybe there's a little bit of panic setting in, and you do go down them pretty fast.

Sometimes you go off the end and hurt yourself or bump into other people on the way down, and some of the passengers may have been elderly or infirm.

"We were accelerating very, very hard down the runway at this stage and I was about to scream out to the cabin crew when obviously the pilot realised there was something wrong and he immediately throttled the engines back and put the brakes on.

"It's the hardest braking I've ever experienced in my life."

Following the emergency stop, all 189 passengers were taken off the plane using the plane's chutes.

Alison Pedley, from Stourport on Severn, said stewards "yelled" at passengers "to leave all bags and just jump".

"Most injuries, I think, were sustained from landing badly when coming off the end of the chutes, although everyone was so relieved to be outside the aircraft.

"The aftermath was like organised chaos."

Crews from Strathclyde Fire and Rescue were called out to assist firefighters based at the airport during the emergency.

Passengers injured

Jet2 said that 20 people were hurt during the incident, many of whom had been treated at the scene for minor injuries.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said six of the passengers had been taken to the Royal Alexandria Hospital in Paisley.

Five were discharged following treatment, with one passenger being admitted.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: "Following the incident involving a Jet2.com aircraft at approximately 07:45 this morning, Glasgow Airport's runway was closed until 10:00 when aircraft operations resumed.

"The closure caused disruption to a number of services and we are still experiencing a small number of delays as a result.

"We are still advising departing passengers and anyone planning to meet arriving passengers to check with the relevant airline."

Glasgow Airport confirmed that as a result of the incident, 14 flights had been delayed.

Evacuated Jet2 aircraft The Jet2 aircraft was preparing to take off on a flight to Alicante

Six inbound flights were diverted - two to Edinburgh, two to Manchester, one to Prestwick and one to Aberdeen.

Five flights were cancelled - two inbound from London City and London Gatwick and three outbound to Dublin, London City and London Gatwick.

A statement from Jet2 said: "Following on from the incident this morning involving flight LS177 from Glasgow, the replacement aircraft is now on its way to Alicante with the majority of passengers wishing to travel.

"We are currently carrying out a full investigation into the cause of the incident with the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB).

"We would once again like to apologise to our customers for the disruption caused and are focused on getting them on their holiday as quickly as possible."

The replacement flight left Glasgow Airport for Alicante at about 15:30 with 169 of the original 189 passengers on board.

BBC Scotland understands that the AAIB has sent three investigators to Glasgow Airport to probe the incident.

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