A Delta flight from JFK to Los Angeles on Saturday made an unscheduled landing in Utah due to technical difficulties — only to have an air slide accidentally deploy inside the plane once it was on the ground.
A crew member was hit unexpectedly by the “exploding” air slide and taken to the hospital.
The B767-300 was en route to LAX from JFK with 168 passengers aboard when the aircraft’s pilot announced that the plane would need to land in Salt Lake City due to technical difficulties.
A backup system’s temperature instrument was on the fritz that was needed for icing conditions, the captain said.
The flight, which left NYC after 7 a.m., landed without incident, and passengers were asked to deplane.
After a delay, the temperature instrument was fixed and the plane was — seemingly — ready to take off again at about 1 p.m. Utah time.
That’s when things shockingly took a slide — literally.
After passengers reboarded the aircraft and were ready to go, an inflatable slide at the rear of the plane was accidentally deployed inside the plane while it was still at the gate — hitting a Delta crew member, who was taken to the hospital, sources told the Post.
One passenger described the slide as “exploding” inside the plane, while another said the crew had armed a rear door, and that the air slide forced a panel out of the door when it accidentally deployed, striking the crew member “like an airbag” of a car.
Sources said the slide hit the unnamed crew member in the head and that the slide had been somehow accidentally deployed by the plane’s catering crew.
Passengers were seen coming off the plane shaken and peeved.
They were finally booked on a secondary aircraft that was scheduled to depart Utah for LA at 4 p.m. Mountain time.
We hear that the Delta employee was “checked out and discharged,” a source said.
A Delta spokesperson said in a statement when reached for comment: “Delta flight 520, operating from New York-JFK to Los Angeles diverted to Salt Lake City due to a maintenance issue.”
The rep added, “While on the ground, the same aircraft’s slide was deployed by accident. In an effort to get our customers to their final destination as quickly and safely as possible, they have been re-accommodated on a new aircraft. We apologize for the delay to their traveling plans. Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and people.”
Passengers were given 7,500 miles by the airline for the inconvenience.
A Delta source also said of the premature landing in Utah to fix the plane that it wasn’t because an emergency landing was officially declared.