Evacuation Slide Deploys Mid-Flight

WICHITA, Kansas – A United Airlines flight was forced to land in Wichita, Kansas, after the evacuation slide accidentally deployed midair Sunday, the airline said.

The Boeing 737 was carrying 96 passengers and five crew members. It was on its way from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

The slide opened inside the rear of the cabin.

“I heard this pop. I turn around and the slide was open,” passenger Michael Schroeder said.

There were no injuries, United spokeswoman Christen David said.

“All passengers were seated at the time the slide deployed. A passenger did not attempt to open the door in flight,” David said.

Schroeder said the plane didn’t appear to lose cabin pressure and “the crew was pretty calm about it.”

“Every landing you walk away from is a good one,” he added.

In November, a JetBlue plane on its way to Boston was diverted to Orlando after an evacuation slide opened in flight.

And in 2008, an evacuation chute opened aboard a campaign plane carrying then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. The chute deployed because it wasn’t properly fastened to the floor and it shifted when the plane made a steeper-than-normal takeoff, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

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