Confusion in Denver International Airport control tower delays response during emergency landing

Posted: April 6, 2012 in Airlines, Aviation & Airports (General News), USA
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

DENVER — There are questions about the actions of an air traffic controller at Denver International Airport, when a pilot made an emergency landing because smoke was filling the cabin.

It happened on a United Airlines flight from Peoria, Illinois on Tuesday

It happened on a United Airlines flight from Peoria, Illinois on Tuesday. Once the plane came to a stop, passengers evacuated the plane and were eventually picked up by a bus along the runway..

A scary situation, and emergency equipment had not arrived yet, even though the pilot had asked for it before landing.

The pilot declared an emergency, but audio tapes of communications between the pilot and tower show everyone did not understand the seriousness of the situation. Play the video clip above to hear the communications between the pilot and the tower.

United Flight 5912 was inbound to Denver during snowy weather when the pilot first asked permission to land. Pilot: “… Clear to land 34 Right 5912 …” That’s one of the runways at DIA.

Someone in the tower cleared the plane and within the next few minutes the pilot declared on emergency on his jet. There was smoke in the cockpit.

The pilot asked for emergency equipment to be waiting, but that never happened. When the plane lands, it’s clear on the the audio tape that controllers are still unaware there was an emergency on board Flight 5912. In fact, a controller asked the pilot to hurry off the runway. Controller: “United 12 if you could help me out minimum time on the runway…”

The problem is that the controller never rolled emergency equipment to help the pilot as he requested, even though it’s clear in the communication he needs it. Pilot: “…(inaudible) We’ll be evacuating! We’ll be evacuating 34 Right!” He’s heard saying in a very excited voice.

At one point the controller even calls the plane by the wrong flight number… calling it “12″ instead of “5912.” Controller: “… 12 … verify that wasn’t you…”  “…240 go around…”

The panic continues.

Pilot: “…(inaudible) We’re evacuating … uh, lots of smoke in the cabin!” Controller: “…5912 the equipment is on the way.”

Nineteen passengers on board the plane evacuated safely. One of them was injured. The extent of that person’s injuries haven’t been released.

The National Transportation Board is investigating the incident.

Full story at Fox 31 Denver…. 


Posted April 5, 2012,
by David Mitchell and Justin Joseph


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