British plane fire shocks the world: Should we be worried about air safety again? 16



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It’s every traveller’s nightmare, an engine fault that causes an evacuation or even a fire. This exact issue occurred on a British Airways plane bound for London.

Las Vegas airport was chaotic overnight as the plane carrying 170 people was forced to evacuate following an engine fire that was sparked after take-off. Suffice to say everyone on board was so thankful that they weren’t in the sky, though it does have us wondering what if it hadn’t sparked a fire? Would they have known about the issue once in the sky?

BBC reports airport officials said at least 14 people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

US Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the left engine of the Boeing 777-200 caught fire before take-off.

In a statement, British Airways said the aircraft “experienced a technical issue as it was preparing for take-off”.

The distress call made from the captain to air traffic control is haunting: “Speedbird Mayday Mayday. Speedbird 2276 request fire services.

“Speedbird 2276 heavy, we are evacuating on the runway. We have a fire, repeat, we are evacuating”/

It has been reported that the pilot was due to retire next week. The pilot later told passengers that the accident was the result of a “catastrophic failure of the engine”, said the Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg, who a passenger on the plane.

“We looked out the window and for the first time saw smoke near the wing. We could smell it. It was like burning rubber – bitter and deeply unpleasant – and it was time to panic,” Steinberg wrote.

Injuries sustained from the plane fire were caused by sliding down the inflatable chutes, said airport officials.

An investigation into the blaze is now under way after what was obviously a lucky escape.

It’s renewed calls for more thorough checks and dummy runs of planes before passengers board. It definitely doesn’t set a nervous flyer’s mind at ease!

Take a look at some of the images of the blaze and tell us, should our planes be more scrupulously checked for faults before lift off? Or do you think this was a one off?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Anytime you get in any sort of vehicle your at risk, in cars, you can’t predict what other driver will do, but in a plane there is not much hope of survival if it crashes. Unlike a car that you can get out and do a few minor repairs if something mechanical happens, a plane just falls straight to the ground, but all life is a gamble isn’t it?

    3 REPLY
    • Leanna – You are very wrong!
      Modern aircraft are capable of gliding substantial distances in the event of total engine failure. You’ve been reading too many newspapers with their false, beat-up articles.
      A plane will only “fall straight to the ground” in the event of a major structural failure and that is extremely rare. When it does happen, it is usually caused by malevolent human action.
      Fact is – you are far safer in the air than in your own car, on the roads.

    • Mike here-too true, in planes they require you to be seated in your own seat on takeoff & landing. It’s easier to identify you in the event of a failure to t/o or land. The most laughable is the dinky little life jacket, in the unlikely event of catastrophic failure put on your life jacket. Spearing into the ground at 600 km is not going to feel any better if you have your life jacket on, it’s going to hurt. But your body us easier to find in your hi-vis jacket & the little whistle, survive a crash landing in the ocean, blow your whistle & attract the sharksn in case they didn’t know you were there.

    • June,you dont do much flying do you.You wont be asked to don a life jacket unless the aircraft is going to ditch in the water.The safest place for you to be is in your seat, preferably with seat belt fastened.I was not aware that the whistle attracted sharks.The whistle is used to attract attention to your location when you are in the water,particularly at night.You might like to know that the inflatable slides that are used as emergency escapes from an aircraft also double as inflatable rafts should the aircraft come down in the water.The whistle would attract the attention of those in the raft to your location.

  2. Of course we should, same as if we get in a boat, drive the car, cross the street, get on a bus, go to the bank, eat at McDonalds, go to the movies, sit in the food court at the shopping centre, forget to lock our front door. Danger is all around us. We are actually probably safer on the plane in so far as any place is safe. Fly if you want to and do all the other things mentioned. If your number is up, won’t matter where you are or what you’re doing.

    1 REPLY
    • So true – could happen anytime – if you worry about it we would never do things or go anywhere – life would be boring – be happy and enjoy life, we only get one chance.

  3. I am always nervous getting on a plane. Also I suffer badly from travel sickness. Might explain why I don’t fly much.

  4. Definitely safer in the air than anywhere else. If my memory is correct there were 437,000 murders last year world wide and the majority of the perps were people they knew.

  5. I’ve never thought of air travel as unsafe, particularly international travel. Planes are well maintained but like cars the unexpected occurs. Some countries internal airlines I wouldn’t have the same level of confidence in, but none of us is immortal and to let fear stop you experiencing life would be sad.

  6. There is no reason I would ever feel ill at ease taking a flight, any more than I would refuse to fly Malaysian despite two dreadful happenings. Airlines still provide the safest form of transport.

  7. There would have to be an investigation to see what went wrong. I believe Australia has an excellent safety record. I am not a lover of flying but this has nothing to do with being worried that the plane will go down. It is because I have problems with my ears. You have more chance of being killed on the ground than you do in the air.

  8. Whatever the form of transport, safety for passengers should be a priority and that also includes regular maintenance.

  9. Actually it is the safety of the crew that is paramount. They fly the Plane, and only in the event of some crazy suicide mission, it is normal for them to want to live !!!!!

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