View Full Version : Decision to evacuate...or not.

21st Jan 2008, 07:19
Hi all,
just wondering and asking myself some questions after watching pictures of the BA B777 crash a few days ago.
Not having any details of it, either it was on fire or not, let's assume this "new story" with the following situation :

If you just had a VERY bad crash landing, all landing gear collapsed, and there are NO fire at all, aircraft under control (whatever is left of it), engines shut down.

Since evacuating the pax with the slides might not be the best option for an already injured person.

Would you order to the cabin crew to initiate an evacuation ?

21st Jan 2008, 09:03
You are going to look very silly when the fire starts......

21st Jan 2008, 09:08
National regulations, and individual companies, will give clear guidelines as to who, and when, initiates an evacuation... Naturally there will an element of individual judgement, but that should be applied "after" the above, not before. So I would suggest generic advice/comment here would be difficult...

21st Jan 2008, 09:08
Yes I would, despite there being no fire that does not mean there is no threat, the aircraft and the wings are substantially damaged, after the gear collapse-possible fuel tanks, or fuel lines ruptured, electrical power lines shorting out, hot exhaust, leaking hydraulic fluids, oxygen tanks, and who knows what dangerous goods are being carried in the cargo compartment- you are sitting in a potentially uncontained situation, best recourse is to safely remove the passengers as soon as possible, rather than sit there wondering how and when to get an air-stair to the aircraft. Obviously any evac down the slides will most likely result in someone getting injured that has to play a part in what is the safest action to take, in this case itís a no brainer, rather some friction burns, or a broken limb or two, than getting burnt up later waiting in your seat-In this case also full points to the cabin crew sounds like they performed by the book, kept full authority in the cabin, telling pax to initially remain seated, then initiating the evac!:ok:

21st Jan 2008, 10:57
Thanks for your valuable opinions. It is so logical indeed.
Evacuation would depend on the evaluation of the risk of any situation threatening to worsen. And that depends too, like many things in aviation, on the individual judgement. (and not on precise criterion)

My thinking of other similar situations where evacuation were not necessary + the lack of sleep, got me wondering on what precise criterion does an evacuation depends on. And IF 2 differents captains COULD have differents opinions on whether an evacuation is required or not.

Time for me to go sleep ;)

Pub User
21st Jan 2008, 11:48
I think you will struggle to get PRECISE criteria for an evacuation.

Additionally, after a proper crash-landing as per 777 LHR, the cabin crew would most likely initiate an evacuation without waiting for it to be ordered by the Captain. They have no idea, at that stage, if the Captain is still conscious, or indeed if the flight deck is still there.

21st Jan 2008, 12:09
I think any half switched on cabin crew member would have initiated an evac. and taken the decision out of your hands...

issi noho
21st Jan 2008, 12:35
Just a couple of tiny points,
Pax have been known to open overwing exits without any instruction from the crew, sometimes for as little as a bit of smoke during a start.

Secondly, and more relevant to the hypothetical scenario given, have you ever seen a set of steps that fit an aircraft without undercarriage.

21st Jan 2008, 13:29
As far as I remember, BA cabin crew are authorised to initiate evacuation following a catastrophic incident, without instructions from the cockpit crew. So following a crash-landing would you rather wait for the firemen to knock on the cockpit window and ask you to evacuate all passengers and crew? I hope not!

21st Jan 2008, 15:35
Personally, I don't think it as quite as cut and dried a decision as some.

The BA cabin crew training regarding catastrophic has changed in the last year or so.

One of the first questions they should ask themselves is 'Am I going to die if I stay in the aircraft?'. Yes they must also consider the structural integrity and the status of the flight crew, but the primary consideration is whether or not they will die by waiting a few seconds. If they have to ask themselves whether or not it is catastrophic or not, it probably isn't.

In this instance, by the above definition, it was not catastrophic and a decision not to evacuate would have been valid.

Having said that, I totally understand the decision made and am not criticising it - as always hindsight is easy.

Standing back expecting to be flamed!

22nd Jan 2008, 10:54
Its a tough one, but faced with this decision were trained to ask these two questions,

1, Is the cabin environment stable ?

2, Will it remain so ?

If either answer is no, evac is safest.