873 Airplane Passengers Evacuated In 77 Seconds

Ever wonder what an 873 people getting evacuated from an airplane looks like? Watch this 77 second video and your curiosity will be sated. Apparently this test resulted in one broken bone and 32 friction burns. — BEN POPKEN

[via Upgrade Travel Better]


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  1. JDAC says:

    It must suck to be the one person from 873 to botch a practice evacuation.

  2. Type-E says:

    It’s fake, in a real situation, it might take 10 times what it have taken. There are just people who wanted to get some items back and won’t leave without them.

  3. GiselleBeardchen says:

    There’s a plane that will hold 873 passengers?

  4. faust1200 says:

    If I had my druthers this would be the next olympic sport.

  5. Dr. Eirik says:

    I thought this was footage of customers fleeing the Airbus headquarters after yet another delay.

  6. faust1200 says:

    @GiselleBeardchen: Ya it’s the new Airbus 380. In normal configuration it holds 555 passengers but in an all-economy class configuration it can hold up to 853 which leaves another 20 as flight crew. For certification which I believe is what this test was for the plane must be tested carrying the maximum amount of passengers.

  7. consumerwhore says:

    Passenger 401-873 would have all burned to death…

  8. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    If they made airplane aisles wider and made seats with more room I bet they can cut that time to about a minute.

  9. aromatase says:

    Don’t you know that cats are Weapons of Mouse Destruction?

  10. aromatase says:

    Ignore previous comment. For some reason it posted an old comment automatically when I logged in.

  11. aromatase says:

    They looked like all healthy adults. Add kids, the elderly and disabled to the mix, not to mention the stupid, and it would take much longer.

  12. Chaoticfluffy says:

    Wow. I don’t think anyone told that one stewardess with the shorts brown hair that 1) this is just a test and 2) even if it weren’t, she’s not supposed to be the one panicking here

  13. madktdisease says:

    $10 that in a real situation you’d have 20 people stop at the edge for no reason whatsoever.

    Yeah, plus kids, who are unique, precious snowflakes and more important than you. And old people, who no one can admit should just get off last so normal people can live their entire lives since granny’s dying in a year anyway.

  14. madktdisease says:

    another thing – they should’ve filled the cabin with smoke, or something. ‘course, then someone might have really died. meh, makes it more interesting though.

  15. facted says:

    This obviously isn’t a real scenario given that everyone was able-bodied. However, during the Air France crash in Toronto, an Airbus A340 with 309 people on board (and the airplane on fire on one side) evacuated in under two minutes. Shorter than you’d think…though longer clearly than this test run with far more people.

  16. V-effekt says:

    I teach German and am so using the video to teach the imperative verb forms. ;)

  17. pillow says:

    plus these are germans. Using Germans or Japanese does not count, since they excell in these kind of controlled tests ^^

  18. SRSco says:

    Okay. This is great! They should use these inflatable slides for exiting the plane every time a plane pulls up to the gate. I’d take a cracked rib and a friction burn anyday, if it allowed me to not stand behind a bunch of people waddling down the aisle at a slug’s pace.

  19. Brad2723 says:

    So why then does it take so long to get off the plane normally?

  20. Hargrimm says:

    Of course, this test is assuming:

    The staff know what they’re doing and wont’ panic.
    None of the passengers will panic or fall over or stop dead in the one-person-at-a-time aisles.
    They ‘crash’ completely level and are able to deploy all of their slides and they all lead to safe ground.
    That the plane itself is not hazardous, eg: smoke, fire, shrapnel.
    And, per above, that no one is injured, disabled, or elderly and needs assistance to exit.

    Basically, this is a completely best case scenario test and will never be replicated in a real emergency. I suspect that this is just a formality, a certification run that confirms the plane CAN evacuate its full load in under 2 minutes or something like that.

  21. The Bigger Unit says:

    In the U.S. there’d be fights at the bottom of the slides as people bumped into one another.

  22. I wonder if the broken bone mentioned was a result of that final crew member busting his ass when he jumped onto the slide at the end of the video :P

    Noooo! My tail bone!!!


  23. Jigen says:

    Of course with a staged evacuation there is no panic. In a real situation, with people fearing for the lives, it would be a very different outcome. Many people would get hurt between being trampled on and fighting to get out the door, which would also result in a slower evacuation time

  24. AcidReign says:

    …..If jet fuel ignites, you’ll be lucky to have five seconds to get off the plane before you get cooked. I figure the broken bone happened in the section where folks were piling up at the bottom of the slide. It looked like more and more people were slamming into the backs of those who were slow to get up. Probably a knee or heel to the rib-cage. Ouch.

  25. Bluefreak says:

    There’s a great narrative from participant #873 at
    http://www.bizbuzzmedia.com/blogs/flight_international/arc… and a more complete report based on his experience at http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2006/04/06/205793/air

    A couple of notes about the test:

    1) The test is done with half the exit doors “blocked”, to simulate an emergency where fire or other hazards might prevent the use of several doors. The participants, however, are not aware of which doors are blocked until during the test itself.

    2) The upper deck slides were pre=deployed for safety reasons, given the extreme height, although the door was blocked for time that it would have taken for the slides to inflate to prevent an unfair advantage.

    3) The test is done in a pitch-black hangar, with luggage, blankets, pillows and other debris strewn across the aisles.

    4) Both EASA and FAA regulations require that 35% of the participants must be aged over 50, a minimum 40% must be female, and 15% female and over 50. Children were included, as well as three life-sized dolls representing infants under two.

    There’s also a slightly longer video showing some of the preparations and extended exterior views of the evacuation at http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2006/07/06/207656/vid… For the real airline nerds, pictures of the safety card can be seen at http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2006/05/10/206552/pic

    Oh, and the full story on what happened to participant #737: http://www.bizbuzzmedia.com/blogs/flight_international/arc

  26. Paul says:

    AcidReign sez:

    If jet fuel ignites, you’ll be lucky to have five seconds to get off the plane before you get cooked.

    False. The inside of a commercial jet can remain habitable for several minutes after the fuel has caught on fire, aside from smoke. Flames and temperature effects are minor concerns in comparison.

  27. EtherealStrife says:

    Great, so if the plane happens to catch fire on the ground, I’m set. If something sudden happens during the other 99% of the flight I’m human potpourri. I come in two scents: burning flesh and human excrement.

    Now be a good sheep and put your life in the hands of a slip and slide.

  28. AcidReign says:

    …..Well Paul, maybe so, maybe not. Unless the plane has slammed down hard enough to immobilize everyone, stuff happens. Someone’s going to open an emergency exit. A window’s going to be knocked out. And… Jet-A fuel pretty much goes gaseous in the air. And you’ve probably got a jet screeching over pavement, rocks or buildings. There’s likely to be a spark. Result? Gas ignites. Flash burns at several thousand degrees. Available oxygen is exhausted.

    …..Me, I’d like to be OUT at that time.

  29. SexCpotatoes says:

    what if the plane landed UPSIDE DOWN?!?

    slides wouldn’t do shit for you then!

  30. Chrome says:

    I would like to know if a plane has ever been evacuated using the slide method in a real emergency. I’ve never heard of it, but that’s not to say it hasn’t happened.


  31. facted says:

    @Chrome: Indeed it has. The Air France Airbus A340 that crashed at Toronto Pearson a year or two ago was evacuated (309 people) in under 2 minutes via slide. Although, some slides malfunctioned and people had to jump.

    In addition, the plane actually did ignite and was on fire for much of the evacuation (on one side), and the passengers evacuated on the other side. Of course, they had the advantage that the plane maintained structural integrity and so the fire was not able to enter the cabin.

  32. Yozzie says:

    Dunno about you guys, but this looked just like the regular deplaning practice on my last United flight.

    And is it just me, or is the sight of a bunch of shouting, uniformed Germans herding hordes of panicked people off the plane rife with situational irony?

  33. gwong says:

    Love the thriller film soundtrack accompanying this clip…

    After seeing the practice run, I’d hate to see what would result in a real evacaution situation.

  34. vongarr says:

    Yeah, factor in obese people, old people, kids, folks with bags they must have, and general stupidity. And, being out of the plane doesn’t mean your safe. If it has a bomb on it, or is going to blow, folks are going to have to be pretty far away. I lack the faith in my fellow man to expect similar results with that many people in any real situation.

  35. Optimistic Prime says:

    @SexCpotatoes: The slides being the wrong way might be the least of your concerns at that point…

  36. cindel says:

    Why does this looks like a Dharma Video?

  37. timmus says:

    For what it’s worth, during Operation Solomon an El Al Boeing 747 managed to pack in 1,122 passengers trying to escape Ethopia during political unrest in 1991. I’d hate to see what would have happened if they had to evacuate.

  38. Dr. Eirik says:

    Evac slides are used all the time, but not always because the plane is on fire. Back in 1991, the plane I was on taxied past a 747 that had blown tires on landing, and the crew decided to evacuate by slide. That wasn’t even a crash landing. The Air Canada “Gimli Glider” used slides to evac (forward landing gear failed to lock because of total power failure because the plane ran out of fuel).

    There have been some emergency landings where fire was involved where slides were used with mixed success. I can recall reading of a BOAC ailiner (I think a 707) that landed hard after dropping an engine off on take off, then burned on landing. Slides were used pretty effectivly until a puddle of buring fuel started blocking them. Final passengers and crew got out by climbing out the emergency ladder in the cockpit.

  39. reykjavik says:

    I had the flight attendant’s German translated: Jews and Gypsies to the back of the plane!!!

  40. FLConsumer says:

    only 1 broken bone? If so, they did SUPERIOR. You usually have at least 3-5 on a regular slide evac on smaller aircraft.

  41. TWinter says:

    Grow up! That’s not funny!

  42. Baciaa says:

    haha thats friggin hilarious.
    I’m sure some of those people would have had a heart attack by the time they got out.

  43. partyone says:

    The problem with turning the phone off is that for some of us is that our cell phones are our home phones as well. So we cannot turn them off. However, could there not be a way to better shield the speakers? Wouldn’t it be possible to make a Farraday cage around the the speakers?