Cathay flight delayed after cleaning blunder triggers emergency slide on tarmac
A blunder by airport cleaning staff triggered an emergency slide of a Cathay Pacific jet to inflate, delaying 277 travellers bound for Chicago.
At the time of the incident on Tuesday morning, the plane was parked at the terminal building at Hong Kong International Airport.
Ground crew and cleaning staff were preparing flight CX806 for its departure during the time of the slide’s activation. No passengers were onboard at the time.
The plane was immediately taken out of service for inspection – a normal procedure following deployment of a slide – and passengers were forced to wait for a replacement Boeing 777.
“We suspect that there was a procedural error by a staff member from our cleaning services provider. It had nothing to do with any technical issues,” an airline spokeswoman said, apologising for any inconvenience caused.
The Airport Authority said they received a report at about 10.15am saying a Cathay Pacific airliner's emergency slide had been deployed and inflated.
The slide was deployed on the second row of five pairs of doors onboard the Boeing 777, located in the business class section of the plane.
Flight CX806 eventually departed at 1.30pm, 90 minutes later than planned, and was expected to land in at O’Hare International Airport in the United States about two hours late.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, 14 fire engines and an ambulance were deployed after cockpit warnings aboard a cargo plane suggested one of its four engines was on fire, minutes after take-off from Hong Kong International Airport.
Operated by Azerbaijan-based Silk Way West Airlines, Flight 7L888 was forced to land back in Hong Kong at 6.16am. The Boeing 747 was subsequently escorted to the midfield cargo parking area, located near the maintenance hangar, by fire engines. The plane was 16 years old according to airfleets.net, an online aviation database.
The Fire Services Department confirmed the incident, adding there were no dangerous goods being carried onboard the plane.
A spokeswoman for the Airport Authority said the incident did not cause any disruption to flights.
The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) later confirmed the incident.
“Investigations revealed that there was damage to the No 3 engine and that a replacement engine is required. The operator concerned will report the matter to the authorities in its State of Registry,” a CAD spokesman said.
Emergency services at Hong Kong airport were last placed on standby on July 11 after a Cathay Pacific Boeing 747 arriving from Bangkok reported a malfunction with its brakes. The airliner, which was carrying 329 passengers, landed safely.