Evacuation slide ‘larger than a small car’ falls from plane and hits Chicago home

‘This really happened. It fell off of an airplane and landed in our backyard’

Maroosha Muzaffar
Tuesday 18 July 2023 08:43 BST
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Emergency slide falls off plane and hits Chicago home’s roof

An emergency evacuation slide described as being “larger than a small car” dislodged from an airplane mid-air and landed in the backyard of a home in Chicago.

There were no reported injuries from the incident, but the falling slide did cause damage to the roof of the house.

A United Airlines Boeing 767 safely landed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Monday after arriving from Switzerland, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

During post-landing inspection, however, maintenance workers discovered an emergency evacuation slide was missing from the side of the aircraft.

It later emerged that the missing slide had fallen and landed in the backyard of the home that is near the airport.

The FAA is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the slide detachment, but the agency refused to give more details, said reports.

The aircraft was carrying 155 passengers and 10 crew.

United Airlines issued a statement. “We immediately contacted the FAA and are working with our team to better understand the circumstances around this matter.”

The aircraft’s emergency slide fell at the 4700 block of North Chester Avenue, situated on the northwest side of Chicago, according to police.

Patrick Devitt was identified as the homeowner of the affected house.

Mr Devitt was not home at the time when the slide fell on the roof of his house, but his son and father-in-law were present. They both reported hearing a “boom” sound around 12.15pm on Monday.

Mr Devitt, after discovering the detached slide, dragged it from his backyard to the front of his property.

He said the slide hit part of the house, damaging the roof, downspout and a window screen.

“When it’s all stretched out, like it’s a little jumbled up I’m sure in the picture from when we dragged it out, it’s larger than a small car. It’s a very, very big piece of equipment,” Mr Devitt told WLS TV.

“I am stunned a little bit. I am just glad that everybody is safe and okay. Just, just seeing that in my backyard, like wow. This really happened. It fell off of an airplane and landed in our backyard,” Mr Devitt was quoted as saying by ABC News.

In 2014, a United Airlines plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Wichita, after an evacuation slide inflated inside the cabin when the plane was almost 40,000ft over Kansas.

No one on the flight, from Chicago to Orange County in California, was hurt in the incident.

Although rare, some Boeing 767 aircrafts have lost emergency slides in the past.

In 2016, a similar incident took place near Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, and again in 2019 near Logan Airport in Boston.

“This is really going to trigger some pretty major investigations. This was not a bird strike or something that’s routine. It’s a rare instant that could have caused fatalities on the ground or even affected the stability of that airplane when it was landing,” DePaul University professor Joe Schwieterman told ABC News.

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