Eleven passengers sustained injuries during the evacuation of a Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 at Hong Kong International Airport. The airline ordered the evacuation after the brakes apparently overheated following an aborted takeoff. The incident occurred on flight CX880 bound for Los Angeles, and the pilots noticed a technical issue while the aircraft, which has been in service for 13 years, was speeding along the runway. Most of the affected passengers have already departed on a new flight arranged by the beleaguered airline.
Video footage captured chaotic scenes as passengers used inflatable escape slides while others chose to remain inside the aircraft, seemingly unconcerned, after the majority of passengers and crew had already evacuated the plane. Cathay Pacific spokesperson confirmed that 293 passengers and 17 crew members were onboard the aircraft. Among them, 283 passengers continued their journey to Los Angeles on the new flight.
The original flight was scheduled to depart Hong Kong just after midnight on Saturday but returned to the gate after the takeoff was aborted. As a result, the aircraft’s brakes appeared to have overheated, potentially leading to small flames. “The crew initiated a precautionary passenger evacuation after the aircraft returned to the gate, and passengers exited the aircraft using five-door escape slides,” explained a Cathay Pacific spokesperson.
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The airline’s priority is to ensure the well-being of all affected passengers and crew members. The crew involved in the incident has been temporarily relieved from duty, adhering to standard practice in critical incidents. Accident investigators will likely review the necessity of the emergency evacuation and evaluate the crew’s effectiveness in directing the evacuation process. Additionally, efforts will be made to address the issue of passengers taking their luggage during evacuations to prevent similar situations in the future.
Cathay Pacific expresses sincere apologies for the disruption caused to customers’ journeys and is committed to providing support to the two hospitalised passengers and their families. Another aircraft was promptly deployed to complete the route, and affected passengers were offered overnight accommodations. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of swift and efficient emergency response protocols to ensure passenger safety during critical situations.