Passengers disembarked plane onto wings via emergency exits in chaotic incident at Cork Airport 2 years ago

Passengers disembarked plane onto wings via emergency exits in chaotic incident at Cork Airport

The incident took place in November of 2017.

Passengers of an Aer Lingus flight climbed out onto the wings of the plane via emergency exits in a state of panic after the pilot told them to disembark rapidly, a new report has stated.


The incident took place at Cork Airport shortly after an Airbus A320 aircraft landed at approximately 1pm on Thursday 2 November, 2017.

According to a report published on Tuesday (7 May) by the Air Accident Investigation Unit, flight crew noticed a burning smell during the craft's first descent of the day.

During the second descent, "strong and persistent" fumes emerged, leading to crew members donning oxygen masks and engaging in emergency protocol.

Unable to discover the source of the problem, the crew de-powered the main aircraft generators, utilising an emergency generator in their place.

When grounded at Cork Airport, the aircraft's commander and first officer once again assessed the situation, determining that fumes were still present in the cockpit.

Following this, the commander made an announcement to passengers to initiate a "rapid disembarkation" of the plane.

The report states that the majority of the passengers and crew vacated the aircraft via the front and rear steps, though passengers seated in the emergency exit rows proceeded to open the over-wing exits and disembark via the wings.


Approximately 32 passengers in total exited via this method, with half of them using the escape slides.

The other half returned to the passenger cabin and exited via the front and rear steps.

Image via AAIU report

According to the report, cabin crew members informed investigators that passengers may have panicked upon seeing fire crew with hoses attending the aircraft when grounded.


It has also been speculated that the manner of the commander's broadcast may have caused alarm due to sounding louder than normal as the pilots were equipped with oxygen masks at the time.

"Following a diversion due to fumes in the cockpit, the Airbus A320 aircraft landed at Cork Airport (EICK) at 13.00 hrs on 2 November 2017," notes the report's official synopsis.

"Emergency services met the aircraft on the runway and after a short assessment, the aircraft taxied to stand.

"When the aircraft was parked on stand, the commander directed the passengers to disembark the aircraft immediately. The commander had intended that an expedited disembarkation be performed.


"However, some of the passengers opened the emergency over-wing exits and disembarked using the escape slides.

"There were no injuries, but a passenger later became unwell and was taken to hospital."