A Qantas Airbus A330 was evacuated in Sydney today. after suffering from an in-flight technical failure that resulted in the cabin filling with smoke.
The aircraft, registered VH-EBC, was performing flight QF575 from Sydney to Perth when the incident occurred. Although the exact amount of passengers on board remains unknown, Qantas notes that their Airbus A330-200s can carry up to 271 passengers on this route.
Approximately 20 minutes after departing Sydney, the pilots received a warning on the Electronic Centralised Aircraft Monitor (ECAM) about an issue with one of three hydraulic systems.
After completing the appropriate checklists, the pilots flew the aircraft back to Sydney for a safe landing. Qantas says that the the aircraft did not perform an emergency landing, but rather one for precaution.
During taxi and arrival at the gate the pilots commanded an evacuation through three escape slides and the jet bridge, after the cabin filled with a thick haze.
Passengers shared photos and videos of the incident on social media, with some saying the cabin had filled with smoke.
271 คนเสียว! เที่ยวบิน QF575 บินด้วยแอร์บัส A330-200 ของแควนตัส แอร์เวย์ส ออสเตรเลีย ต้องบินกลับลงจอดฉุกเฉินที่สนามบินซิดนีย์ เหตุระบบไฮโดรลิคไม่ทำงาน เกิดควันในห้องโดยสาร กัปตันสั่งอพยพฉุกเฉินผู้โดยสาร 271 คนลงด้วยประตูสไลด์ลมนิรภัย Qantas passengers evacuated as hydraulics gone pic.twitter.com/bj20CmLvOG— Den Bancha Chumchaivate (@bancha333) December 15, 2019
Per Qantas, #QF575 (A330-200 VH-EBC) returned to Sydney today due to a hydraulic issue. After returning to the gate, the crew conducted a precautionary evacuation with passengers using the jet bridge and 3 of the A330s escape slides.— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) December 15, 2019
View playback at https://t.co/eFn0ZNhf66 pic.twitter.com/t9OtFAMTq4
Two passengers were treated locally for escape-related injuries and one was taken to hospital for a precautionary checkup. Multiple passengers have reported sore eyes and throats, however this has been deemed to not have any long-term consequences.
Qantas dismissed the idea that the cabin was filled with smoke, saying there was no fire. Instead, the haze was caused by what is believed to be hydraulic fluid entering the air conditioning system.
Engineers at Qantas will liaise with Airbus to determine the full cause of the incident. A full investigation will be lead by Australia’s civil aviation regulator, CASA. Qantas says that they won’t fly the aircraft until it is deemed safe to do so.
“We totally understand this would have been a very unusual and probably alarming experience for our customers, so we thank them for giving crew their full cooperation. The crew did a great job of putting their training into action and following the procedures for a set of circumstances like this.”Qantas Fleet Safety Captain Debbie Slade
Customers affected by this incident have been rebooked onto later flights and/or are being looked after by airport authorities and Qantas.