Passengers were evacuated via slides, after the Airbus A330 was forced to return as the cabin filled with smoke.
Qantas flight 575 returned to Sydney shortly after take-off on Sunday morning due to a hydraulic issue. “Once back at the gate, the captain made the decision to evacuate the aircraft as a precaution and three emergency slides were deployed,” the airline said in a statement. “Passengers were evacuated through both the slides and normal exits.” One passenger described the incident on Twitter as “terrifying”. “Just had to evacuate my flight to Perth after engineering issues. Everyone had to exit the plane via slide onto Sydney tarmac after the cabin filled with smoke and the captain screamed evacuate,” she tweeted. Another passenger, Sydney mechanic Rahman Akbari, said that the captain appeared calm but it was a “little bit” scary when the crew began yelling “evacuate, evacuate” on the tarmac. “Initially it was just the smell, we could smell something but after a few minutes this fume starting building up in the cabin,” he told the newspaper.
A Qantas spokeswomen told journalists at Sydney airport that it was her understanding that there was mist in the cabin. “I think perhaps some of the hydraulic fluid was pumped in by the air-conditioning system, I haven’t heard of any indications of smoke,” the spokeswomen said in a televised press conference. “It may have appeared like smoke but it was mist from the hydraulic system.”
Qantas said engineers were inspecting the aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 that can carry up to 271 passengers.