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This One Nut Screwed Up EVERYTHING

This One Nut Screwed Up EVERYTHING
Jeff Edwards

The Winner: The Nut That Sent Flyers Scrambling For Emergency Exits

In the past, Worst Passenger of Week winners have stretched to include crew members, telephone pranksters and an assortment of disturbed individuals, most of whom are intoxicated and/or naked, but never before has an inanimate object taken home the top prize — until now.

This week, when the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) released a report naming an over-tight nut as the culprit behind a seemingly unnecessary mayday call, emergency landing and chaotic evacuation of a Jet2 flight at East Midlands Airport (EMA), the honor was well and truly earned by this humble fastening implement.

The AAIB report blames the incident on a loose electrical connection likely caused by a troublemaking nut being fastened too tightly. What followed was near pandemonium.

The pilot declared a mayday alert because of a “strong acrid smell” and requested visual confirmation that the landing gear had deployed before making an emergency landing. After the Boeing 737 landed safely, the cabin reportedly began to fill with smoke, forcing the captain to order an emergency evacuation of the aircraft. At this point, one of emergency slides became tangled and at least one passenger was injured as panicked passengers tried to flee the aircraft.

While the nut in question deserves its share of the blame for the incident, the AAIB report seems to consider the flight crew’s overreaction at least partially to blame for the ensuing havoc. The report takes pains to note: “Jet2 has since included a procedure within its operating manual to make sure pilots are better-prepared for such incidents and to reduce the likelihood they will lead to emergency evacuations.”

[Photo: iStock]

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