How Not To Evacuate An Aircraft…

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Southwest Airlines flight 519 from New Orleans-Houston caught fire as it landed on Wednesday.  I find 2 things shocking from the incredible video that a helicopter caught of the incident.

1-The amount of time it took to begin evacuating the plane. Over 2 minutes to get the first people out?

2-The guy who throws down his briefcase before sliding down and then proceeds to gather all of his belongings that fell out of the briefcase at the bottom of the slide!



0:05: Plane touches down.

0:45: Plane comes to a complete stop.

3:02: Slides are deployed. (you can see them inflating at the very left side)

3:16: First look at people sliding down

3:50-4:02: The incredibly selfish person blocking the exit of the slide while he gathers his papers…

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26 Comments On "How Not To Evacuate An Aircraft…"

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“3:50-4:02: The incredibly selfish person blocking the exit of the slide while he gathers his papers…”
Dan, I understand your point, but take into account that he was the second to last person to exit that plane and apparently didn’t feel that his or anyone’s life was in danger. Also there was another slide nearby, so technically the last guy could have used the other slide.


What about the fact that it took close to three minutes for emergency personnel to get there? Also, in defense of briefcase dude, he probably thought that he was the last one out when he was second to last out (from that slide).




Oh cmmon, the guy did not hold up anyone, he crouched down, picked it up and moved to the side to get the rest…

Anyhow nice shot!


i give you the first one, not sure why it took so long to get everyone out. but the second guy getting his stuff? come on he was the lescond to the last one and he was blocking the slide for 1 second and nobody was coming out of there anyway. and i think we would all want to get our stuff. its not like the entire plane was on fire!!


It doesn’t seem to me that he’s blocking anybody.

I wonder if the pilot knew there was a problem before landing, or if he only found out when the tire caught fire. Is 2 min. really too long? I’m not sure.


amazing Video !!
I think the Rescue wasnt there immediatly because usually you know ahead of time when you have an emergency , this time they didnt know until they landed


looking for cheap tickets from ny 2 la end of july


Bet you that guy is a liberal professor, maybe even teaches about selfishness.


I hear ya’ guys, but I still have a few nitpicks..

-He definitely was not the last on the plane, at the minimum there was 1 guy behind him and the entire crew was obviously still on the plane waiting for all passengers to deplane.

-It is against FAA regulations to take anything off the plane in case of emergency, I’m not sure why he wasnt stopped by a crewmember.

And c’mon the guy is sitting at the bottom of the slide taking his good ole’ time getting his papers in order while there are definitely still others in a plane that’s on fire!


Stadard united airlines announcement before landing:
“if an evacuation becomes necessary, leave ALL carry-on items behind.

If an aircraft is being evacuated in an emergency (regardless of the severity of the circumstances ) if there is even one remaining soul on board, get out of the way of the exit as quickly and as safely as possible.


I have to agree with Dan here. Besides for the fact that he is still blocking any people who might still be in the plane i.e. the crew. Did he consider the fact that fires are unpredictable and for all he knew something could have blown any second.


@Dan/Ctownbochur: Im with you on this one…If I was behind the guy there is no way I would have waited for him to get out of the way.

But I would probably have grabbed my bag on the way out.

he was just getting his stuff out of the way

not so bad


bottom line DAN: what are the people on this flight getting as compensation?
is southwest having any special deals because of this?


maybe it took 2 minutes because they a) didn’t yet know they were on fire – b) they had to determine which side of the plane was safe to exit.


Unless this story results in some sort of Southwest free ticket promo, its hard to see what relevance it has to deal-seeking penny-pinchers.
Clearly, this post and its comments is an indication of the constantly evolving culture of as well as it’s wide appeal to a variety of interests.

Kudos to Dan for keeping it fresh.


come on, give the guy a break… he was 2nd to the last guy out and even after he finished picking up his stuff it took the last one a few to get off the plane. he wanted to grab a few papers with him out of the plane. must have been important for him . most of us would have done the same


To address the issue of waiting ~2 minutes before initiating an evacuation, keep in mind that some early reports that I saw online yesterday indicate that it was a passenger who observed what appeared to be a fire below the fuselage and shouted to Flight Attendants to alert them of this.

There are some situations where flames may be seen shooting out of an engine, which *SOMETIMES* is perfectly NORMAL, but yet to the average passenger, it could easily be construed as an emergency. Without confirmation of an actual emergency by the flight crew/flight attendants/ground personnel, a passenger could initiate an evacuation in a situation where one isn’t warranted.

There appears to have been communication going on between the tower and pilot because you’ll notice only the slides on the left(port) side of the aircraft were used. Luckily the fire was contained to the wheel and didn’t spread to the wings, then the results would have been way more serious.

That said, however, 2 minutes could have been the difference between life and death in a more serious situation.


Hey Guys! Cool Down!

It was probably some Lubavitcher with a shaved beard grabbing his tefilin! The pages were from his torn Chitas!

Don’t we all want to take a pair of Tefilin off a burning plane!


Had I been a pax or crew on this flight behind this guy I would be sure to have slammed into him feet first. “Oh c’mon he’s the second to last…” blah blah. Hindsight is 20/20. The plane was on fire. Period. Get the **** out.




He is an old guy. And no, he wasn’t blocking anyone. He actually moved away as quick as he could get up on his knees. Stop the maddness


He was not the only one taking things off the plan. A lot of people have handbags and the like.


100% correct, plus he was elderly!!


any one notice how the people only got off on the side where the fire wasn’t and that it was right after the first responder arrived the didn’t know if it was safe!!! so they waited for a report from someone outside (ever see a plane with rear view mirrors?!!!!?)