A QANTAS pilot “screamed” at passengers to “evacuate, evacuate, evacuate” after pungent smoke filled the cabin in Australia.
Several people were injured in the rush to flee flight 575, while others suffered itchy eyes or “scratchy throats” after breathing in hydraulic fluid fumes.
Passengers flying from Sydney to Perth were evacuated via slides when the Airbus A330 was forced to return as the cabin filled with smoke, reports Australian Associated Press.
Qantas said flight 575 returned to Sydney Airport shortly after takeoff on Sunday morning due to a hydraulic issue.
It had to be towed back to the gate as there were problems taxiing the aircraft upon its sudden return.
The cabin filled with smoke and the captain screamed evacuate.
One passenger, Sydney mechanic Rahman Akbari, told The Daily Telegraph that the captain appeared calm but it was a “little bit” scary when the crew began yelling “evacuate, evacuate” on the tarmac.
“Initially it was just the smell, we could smell something but after a few minutes this fume starting building up in the cabin,” he said.
Fellow passenger, Ally Kemp, of Canberra, said on Twitter that the experience was “terrifying”.
“Just had to evacuate my flight to Perth after engineering issues. Everyone had to exit the plane via slide onto Sydney tarmac after the cabin filled with smoke and the captain screamed evacuate,” she tweeted.
Passenger Niamh Champion said that shortly after takeoff, “everything was fine.
“And next thing he (pilot) goes, ‘evacuate, evacuate, evacuate’, like in a calm but firm, loud voice.
“So instantly everyone jumps off and they’re thinking, ‘Oh my God. I thought there was smoke, or a fire or, you know, something was happening’.
“And I was relatively close to the back of the plane.
“The hostess opened the door, bang, the chute comes down and everyone starts rushing into the aisle.”
Champion said that she had to jump out before her two young children followed her lead.
She added: “Otherwise we’d be holding up the whole line of people on a possible plane thats full of smoke.”
One man said he had “blood gushing out” after being injured during the emergency evacuation, reports News.com.au.
Aswin De Silva said: “I landed on my elbow and I saw blood gushing out.”
Two other passengers were treated for wounds sustained from using the slides, while others reported itchy throats and sore eyes.
Dramatic videos show the panicking passengers throwing themselves down three slides after smoke filled the cabin.
HYDRAULIC FLUID LEAK
Qantas said that engineers are “working to determine the cause of a hydraulic fluid leak on board one of its Airbus A330s.
“AF575 departed Sydney for Perth at 8.45am this morning.
“Approximately 20 minutes into the flight, the captain received a cockpit alert for one of three hydraulic systems on the aircraft.”
The airline said that once the aircraft was back on the gate there were reports of a thick haze in the cabin, likely caused by hydraulic fluid entering the air conditioning unit.
“While customers may have thought it was smoke, there was no fire.
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“Two passengers were treated for injuries sustained from using the slides and another passenger was taken to hospital as a precaution.
“Some customers reported sore eyes and itchy throats.”
Qantas Fleet Safety Captain Debbie Slade added: “We’ll investigate exactly what happened, including liaising with Airbus, before this aircraft is returned to service.”