United Airlines flight evacuated for cabin smoke moments before Schiphol departure
This article was updated with information from the airline.
A United Airlines aircraft was evacuated at Schiphol Airport on Friday because of smoke in the cabin. The flight was accelerating and about to depart for Newark, New Jersey when the crew aborted takeoff.
Fire department crews and paramedics were dispatched to the scene just before 10:00. Light smoke formed inside the airplane, but the origin was not immediately clear, a spokesperson for the Kennemerland Security Region told NL Times. “It may have been caused by a small, electrical short circuit,” he said.
United Airlines flight UA71, a Boeing 777-200, pulled back from the gate about 45 minutes before it ran into trouble, a spokesperson for the airline confirmed by email. It was taxiing towards the Polderbaan, the airport’s western-most runway. Data from flight tracking websites showed the airplane entered the runway and had accelerated up to 90 knots, or about 167 km/h, when it slowed down and safely stopped.
Two people suffered from symptoms of smoke inhalation, the regional emergency services spokesperson said. A fire department truck was used to get medical personnel on the airplane near the runway to examine passengers who had become unwell.
The flight crew then decided to evacuate the aircraft using the fire department vehicles to remove the passengers, the emergency services office said. The airline confirmed there were 253 ticketed passengers inside the airplane, along with 13 crew members. Everyone managed to safely exit the airplane. The passengers were then bused back to the terminal, the emergency services office said. The airplane eventually returned to the apron.
“Our maintenance team is currently inspecting the aircraft,” United told NL Times just before 2 p.m. “We are making arrangements to get our customers to their final destination as soon as possible.”
The Dutch Safety Board also announced it will investigate the incident.