National carrier reassures passengers after chute opened accidentally before Singapore-bound service leaves Dhaka
A flight of the new Boeing-787 Dreamliner of Biman Bangladesh Airlines was forced into an emergency delay on Tuesday when an evacuation slide was mistakenly opened by an “inexperienced” engineer.
Only days after its maiden flight, Akash Beena’s slide was accidentally ejected at 08:30 in the morning as the airline’s staff were busy loading food for the passengers, causing a one-and-a-half hour delay on the Dhaka-Singapore service.
“Engineer Mostafizur mistakenly pushed the wrong button while opening one of the doors of Akash Beena, which ejected the raft,” a staff member of Biman’s Engineering Core said. “They initially tried to fix it, but couldn’t.”
The flight authorities decided to operate the flight to Singapore as normal after the slide - an emergency evacuation chute which inflates automatically when the aircraft door is opened - was sent to the engineering department for inspection.
The passengers were reportedly frustrated by the delay, although the flight authority issued assurances that no risks over safety had been taken.
“There was no problem while the flight was operated (and) all the pre-scheduled flights of the plane will be continued,” Biman GM Shakil Meraj said.
Aviation Expert Dr Ashish Rai Chowdhury said the decision to continue with a normal service could create “panic” among the passengers.
“Flying an airplane without a raft is extremely risky,” he said. “If they still continue with scheduled flights, they should take 55 passengers less in every flight.”
Biman flight engineer Mostafizur Rahman was temporarily suspended and a probe committee was formed after Tuesday’s incident, which was first reported on the aviationnews.com website.
“Strict actions will be taken against those who are involved in the matter,” Biman’s Engineering Core Director Sazzadur Rahman said.
Biman MD Captain Mossadiq Ahmed said the broken piece would be fixed within three days.
An aviation expert seeking anonymity said: “The matter is suspicious and the manufacturer and the high level officials involved in the purchase committee of the plane should be held accountable for this.
“There should be an investigation whether there was any corruption while buying any parts of the plane.”