Where there’s a plane, there’s a claim

Flight VS27From the Express 17/04/12:

Passengers forced to evacuate a Virgin Atlantic jet told last night how panicked cabin crew screamed “Get off as quick as you can” after making an emergency landing at Gatwick.

One claimed the evacuation from the Airbus A330 was panicky, with one of the crew “screaming like a banshee” after an on-board alarm was triggered in flight.

Erm – better safe than sorry, surely?

Absolutely – but stop calling me Shirley. Be right back  (Sorry – couldn’t resist – I love Airplane).

Don't call me Shirley

airplane - flying on instruments

As a long time (and enthusiastic!!) viewer of ‘Air Crash Investigation’* and the downed flight episodes of ‘Seconds from Disaster’*, some of the passengers on board flight VS27 don’t seem to realise how lucky they were. The cabin crew had a duty to get everyone off and away from the plane as quickly as possible. A bump and a scrape here and there doesn’t come into it when the crew were doing their darndest to prevent anyone on board from being barbecued alive.

When the report came on the TV last night in which disgruntled passengers bemoaned the rushed exit, I thoughtfully observed: “it’s not a fu*king theme park ride”.

The 304 passengers, including three children, were told to slide down emergency chutes onto the runway. Fifteen were said to have suffered minor injuries.

Considering the alternative had the crew not acted as quickly, I think these minor injuries can be dismissed as the mere jostling associated with everyday life. Hmm, now where have I heard that before? 

The drama began when alarms went off on the flight deck and flight VS27 bound for Orlando, Florida, was forced to turn around less than two hours after taking off from Gatwick.

Passenger Tom Aldridge told of the moments after the emergency touch-down. He said: “There was quite a lot of high-pitched screaming sounding very panicky, very concerned, and I thought that a couple of passengers were a little bit crazy and just needed to calm down.

Cool as a cucumber, eh? Tom, I like it.

"It wasn’t until I had to go closer to the door that I realised it was Virgin cabin crew that were screaming hysterically ‘Get off, get off, get off as quick as you can, get off’. One of the crew was screaming like a banshee – she was literally pushing people down the chute.”

Ah yes – doing her job. God forbid anyone should be seen to do that in the 21st century.

He added: “The people panicking as they were jumping off were throwing themselves out of the plane down the chute.

“There was a big pile of bodies where people were just landing on top of each other and there were quite a few injuries.”

Diddums – here’s a band aid. At least they weren’t char-grilled.

Another passenger, Mark Bell, from Bracknell, Berks, said: “I knew something was wrong when we took off. The plane was really wobbly. The cabin crew made things worse. They were really panicked.

Really wobbly. Thanks for that, Mark. Somehow I sense the investigation team will be interviewing the flight crew and turning to the plane’s black box and cockpit voice recorder before using your expert observation.

I hope it’s not being over-generous to suggest that the immediate reaction of some these passengers was more due to shock than serious contempt with the way they were treated (read saved) by the cabin crew.

* I usually watch these last thing at night just before I go to sleep. Yes, my viewing tastes run to the macabre, but it’s hugely fascinating stuff. Haven’t had a nightmare yet.


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