UPDATE – March 8, 2012:
According to a report Air France has come out and disputed the characterization of events that unfolded when Flight 422 made an emergency landing in the Azores when there was a smoke alarm aboard:
Air France’s statement read (in part only in quotes):
“The cabin crew put on the breathing protection masks to inspect the rest area and no smoke was detected.”
It added that the captain decided to divert to the nearest airport as a “precautionary measure” because the alarm had sounded.
The plane dumped fuel in order to land without the jet being overweight – a standard procedure, it added.
Air France also denies reports of panic on board and says that passengers did not leave the aircraft on emergency slides.
“The crew informed the passengers in French, English and Spanish, of the reasons for the diversion.
“The crew reported no injuries, illness or panic among the passengers, who left the aircraft normally using both of the airport’s jetways.”
Air France says an investigation found no traces of smoke or any ‘irregularity’ on the airliner.
Airliner Already Had Issues Delaying the Flight from Charles de Gaulle Airport
An Air France flight bound for Bogota, Colombia from Paris, France had to make an emergency landing on the Azores island of Terceira when there was some kind of circuit failure.
Air France flight 422 was roughly 2 hours in to its flight when the crew got a warning of smoke on the crew deck. Reports say the pilots quickly diverted and headed to the nearest airport which was Lajes Airport on Terceira Island, Azores (Portugal).
But the change in plans was hardly calm, according to the passengers, when the Airbus A340 descended to below 2,000 feet to dump fuel before their emergency landing.
Passengers Euclides and Rosa Montes:
“We looked out of the window and the sea was directly below us. Fuel was pouring out over the wings. We thought we were going to die.”
Swedish newspaper ‘Expressen’ quotes Eden Victoria Erlandsson, another passenger:
“…panic took over, the cabin crew were sweating and shouting, and people were crying and praying. It was total panic.”
The flight made a successful landing and the passengers evacuated the plane via emergency slides, where fire crews awaited them on the tarmac. No one was reported injured.
Passengers reportedly raised concerns about the flight leaving Paris in the first place:
‘After a delay of 34 minutes the flight, AF422, took off from Charles de Gaulle at 11.24am with the smell of burning already apparent upon take off. Two hours into the flight the plane rapidly diverted, turning back to the nearest landing point available.’
Image: Flickr [slasher-fun]