British Airways Plane Fills With Smoke Before Landing: ‘Passengers Started Shouting They Couldn't Breathe’
Passengers apparently waited 15 minutes for doors to open.
A British Airways plane had to be evacuated on Monday after the plane’s cabin filled with smoke upon approach to its destination.
According to CNN, flight BA422 was en route from London to Valencia, Spain when passengers noticed a “metallic, chemical odor” and thick smoke throughout the cabin just before landing at Valencia Airport.
Passengers told CNN that they felt like they were in a “horror film.” Passenger Lucy Brown said to CNN, “Passengers started shouting they couldn't breathe.”
According to CNN, Brown said that passengers were most confused and frightened because oxygen masks did not deploy during the incident, adding that it took 15 minutes to get the emergency doors open. This is actually quite common, CNN reported, since oxygen masks are triggered by a loss of pressure, and not smoke, in the cabin.
“It is not standard procedure for oxygen masks to be used when there is smoke in the cabin and at low altitude,” a spokesperson for British Airways told CNN. The spokesperson added that the masks “are not designed to be used in smoke events as they mix the oxygen supply with the ambient air.”
British Airways said in a statement, "Flight BA422 from Heathrow to Valencia experienced a technical issue on its landing approach into Valencia. All our customers were evacuated safely by our crew and met by the airport's emergency services.”
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our highest priority,” the statement continued. “Pilots are highly trained and ready to handle emergencies of all kinds, but when one happens, the only thing that matters is whether the job gets done. In this case, the pilots and crew appear to have done an excellent and highly professional job of getting this aircraft safely onto the ground in very difficult circumstances, and safely evacuating all the passengers with no reported serious injuries.”
There were 175 passengers, plus two pilots and six cabin crew, aboard the flight. Three passengers were taken to a local hospital as a precaution and have been discharged, according to CNN.