Missing Delta 767 Escape Slide Found on Beach after Departing Aircraft in Flight

Last updated on Apr 29, 2024

Posted on Apr 29, 2024

Earlier this week, a Delta 767 taking off from JFK and heading towards LAX air returned to JFK after losing an escape slide midair shortly after takeoff. The missing overwing escape slide has been located on a rocky beach in the New York area, fully deployed.

What Happened?

On Friday, April 26, a Boeing 767-300ER with registration number N176DN was taking off from JFK when it was reported that the overwing exit slide departed the aircraft. The overwing exit slide lives in an exterior panel near the rear of the wing to assist during evacuations of the overwing exits.

Pictures show that on arrival back into JFK airport, the area where the escape slide should have been secured was empty. It's likely that local NTSB officials launched a search for the escape slide to determine the cause of the escape slide departing the aircraft.


Slide Found!

As reported by Twitter/X user @KatieMcFaddenNY, the slide was found on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens today. From the looks of the pictures that were posted, the slide was deployed at some point during its journey from the aircraft to the peninsula.

No official word from Delta or the NTSB on what might have happened or any explanation thus far.

My Theory

Panels like the one that opened during flight are not meant to be opened on a day-to-day basis. My best guess is that maintenance had been preformed on the aircraft related to the escape slide, and a maintenance technician didn't properly close or secure the panel. And during the takeoff roll, the wind force of the aircraft coming up to takeoff speed forced the panel open and the straps holding the slide in place weren't strong enough and the slide fell off the aircraft.

As for slide deployment, my best guess is that the slide deployed as it was leaving the aircraft. Escape slides usually are activated upon the panels that hold them are opened, however I don't think it inflated very far before departing the aircraft.

My other theory is that it activated when it hit the water. Some escape slides have mechanisms that automatically start the inflation procedure once it comes in contact with water.

Either way, I'm sure Delta has some explaining to do.

; ; ; ;

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