• FAA report: 71 evacuation slide problems in two years

    By: Jacqueline Fell


    WASHINGTON D.C. - Vallie Collins survived the “Miracle on the Hudson” five years ago, US Airways flight 1549. She, along with a mother and two children, clung to an evacuation slide serving as a raft until rescuers arrived.

    “It was a very scary, traumatic experience,” said Collins.

    It takes less than 10 seconds for an evacuation slide to deploy. Those slides are one of the biggest factors in people getting off a plane alive.

    However, what happens when that slide doesn’t open? It’s a problem that happens more than you might think.

    When Asiana Airlines 214 crashed on a San Francisco runway in July, only two slides properly deployed. The other two inflated inside the burning plane, pinning flight attendants to the floor.

    Using the Freedom of Information Act, Channel 9 obtained maintenance logs submitted to the FAA. They reveal 71 reports of evacuation slide problems in the past two years.

    The documents expose trouble on a variety of airplanes and airlines.

    The National Transportation Safety Board, which first cast light on faulty slides back in 2000, found a failure rate of 37 percent.

    The chairman said two investigative panels are again looking into why slides malfunction so often.

    The NTSB is expected to release the cause of the Asiana crash, as well as any new slide recommendations this summer.

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