Evacuation slide inflates inside United Airlines flight, forcing emergency landing (+video)
A United Airlines flight from Chicago to California was forced to make an emergency landing in Kansas after an evacuation slide inflated inside the plane's cabin. No one aboard UA Flight 1463 was injured.
Chicago — An evacuation slide inflated inside a United Airlines plane as it flew from Chicago to California, filling part of the cabin and forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Kansas, the airline and passengers said.
Mike Schroeder said he was flying to Orange County, California, late Sunday when he heard a hiss and pop. Schroeder said he turned around and saw the plane's evacuation slide — which would normally go outside the plane during an emergency — inflating inside the cabin.
United Airlines officials said in a statement Monday that no one aboard Flight 1463 was injured.
Passengers remained calm and took pictures of the inflated slide with their phones, Schroeder said. The Boeing 737-700 pilot announced to passengers that they would be landing at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport.
"When the pilot came out right after landing he said, 'Oh golly, I've never seen that before,'" Schroeder said.
Christen David, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based airline, said the slide "accidentally deployed" and that all 96 passengers were seated when the slide inflated. The airline provided passengers hotel rooms and planned a flight Monday morning from Wichita to California.
United's maintenance team will inspect the aircraft to find out what happened, David said.
Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said agency investigators were at the scene in Wichita, but that the investigation would take weeks. She did not have further information.
In other airline news, a Denver-bound jetliner landed in Sioux City after its pilot noticed a power warning light flashing in the cockpit.
Southwest Airlines Flight 3809 landed without incident at 2:40 p.m. Sunday after leaving the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport about 90 minutes earlier. The Boeing 737 model carried 143 passengers and five crew members.
Southwest spokeswoman Michelle Agnew says the pilot took the cautious route even though the situation wasn't dire. Agnew says the system that was involved powered such features as coffee pots and cabin lights and that backup power sources were available.
Sioux City airport operations manager John Backer says the passengers waited in the terminal for about three hours until a replacement plane arrived and they could board and resume their journeys.
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