If you have a fear of flying, you may want to skip this one: United Airlines Flight 1463 accidentally deployed the evacuation slide midair during a flight from Chicago to Orange County, California, Sunday night. United Airlines Flight 1463 had to make an emergency landing in Wichita, Kansas, where fire trucks waited on the runway. Airline officials said the plane landed safely, and all 96 passengers walked away unscathed.
The inflatable evacuation chute reportedly deployed in the rear cabin of the plane — a Boeing 737 — where it quickly filled up much of the aisle. Airline officials said the reason why remains unclear, but they are investigating the slide deployment. All of the passengers were seated when the slide opened, and no one tried opening the door of the cabin mid-flight.
Several passengers recalled hearing a "popping" noise during the flight. "I heard this pop. I turn around and the slide was open," passenger Michael Schroeder told CNN.
"It was interesting. Nobody was scared or anything," passenger Michael Davis added to ABC News. "The captain made an announcement that we're gonna land in Wichita. He said, 'Don't worry about the emergency trucks, it's just standard procedure.'"
Following the emergency landing, United accommodated the passengers at a nearby hotel for the night, and a new flight to Orange County leaves Monday morning.
While this incident may sound embarrassing for United Airlines, let's remember that inflatable evacuation slides accidentally deploying happens to the best of us — even President Barack Obama. In the summer of 2008, an enormous inflatable chute opened on an Obama campaign plane. No one onboard — including the then-presidential candidate — knew the slide had deployed after takeoff from Chicago Midway Airport. However, the pilot eventually figured out something was wrong, and the campaign plane made an emergency landing at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
In 2009, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the inflatable slide popped open because it wasn't properly secured to the floor of the plane. But the investigation still didn't solve the entire mystery. "It could not be determined why the slide's cover was not secured," the report said.