Video: Delta A321neo Evacuation in Seattle Due to Mechanical Fault

Last updated on May 15, 2024

Posted on May 15, 2024

Video is surfacing of the Delta A321neo evacuation at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport earlier this month, where an electrical fault caused the entire airplane to evacuate via emergency slides.

In the video, we see an employee hooking up ground power to the airplane and seconds later it starts to spark and arch under the airplane. It creates a big plume of black smoke that we can see bellows up both sides of the airplane.

Sources say that the smoke made its way into the cabin via the open entry door on the forward left of the aircraft and that sparked the evacuation order.

What Happened?

As the video shows, a ramp worker plugged in the ground power to the airplane and walked away to activate the power from the console attached to the jet bridge. One activation, a lot of sparks and fire erupted from the ground plug.

It's not clear what the actual cause is of the electrical fire. It may have been an improperly seated plug that reacted with some debris in the socket. Not only that, but it could also be a failure of the electrical wire itself. A surge of electrical current or a broken cable could have shorted out the cable and caused the arching.

Lastly, a long shot theory is that somehow the airplane reversed the plus and surged the cable by trying to output electricity. However, I personally believe that the cable shorted out and caused the electrical arching.

Disappointing Evacuation

"Delta N509DT Airbus A321neo LAX0623" by formulanone is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

In the video, we can see it takes quite awhile for the evacuation to start. This is probably due to the fact that nobody really knew what was going on, and the smoke entering the cabin was slow at first.

Because the airplane was at the gate, all the doors would be disarmed, meaning the slides would all be deactivated. If the evacuation order was given, the flight attendants would have to rearm the doors and then blow them to make the slides inflate.

The most disappointing thing that I saw in the video was the number of people taking their suitcases, backpacks, and personal belongings with them. It completely slowed down the process of evacuation and could have torn the slide.

What's even more disappointing is that the passengers going out the overwing exit seem to linger on the wing and try walking to the end rather than going down the emergency slide.

Final Thoughts

This freak event really shows that Americans aren't ready for an actual aircraft disaster. It is disappointing to see everyone trying to take their stuff. Also, not mentioned was the response time for the fire department. The evacuation was already over and the electrical arching was completed before the fire department got there.

I think there's a lot to learn from this incident, and more than likely some policies will change because of it.

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