The cabin crew of the British Airways B-777 that crash landed at London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) on January 17 are being praised for their quick action and professionalism in initiating and carrying out the evacuation of the aircraft.
Pictured at right are the senior crew members from BA Flight 38. From left to right, senior First Officer John Coward, who was the pilot flying at the time of the incident; Captain Peter Burkill, pilot in command; and Cabin Service Director Sharron Eaton-Mercer, the senior cabin crew member on the flight.
The photo was taken at a press conference, during which Capt. Burkill said:
"I want to pay tribute to the cabin crew and Cabin Service Director Sharron Eaton-Mercer who carried out the evacuation of the passengers with speed, efficiency and care, some incurring minor injuries in the process.The cabin crew were praised as well by British Airways CEO Willie Walsh. A number of passengers who had been on board BA Flight 38 also commented publicly that the cabin crew had remained calm and had quickly evacuated all the passengers in an orderly fashion.
It was typical of Sharon's selflessness that she took time to check that we on the flight deck were all right before going down the chute herself."
The incident that resulted in the crash landing occurred very late in the flight, while the aircraft was on short finals. The flight deck crew had not been able to warn the cabin crew before the aircraft hit the ground. The cabin crew reportedly initiated the unplanned evacuation as soon as the aircraft came to a rest.
The United Kingdom's Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has issued a preliminary report on the accident, excerpts of which have been posted on the Professional Pilot News blog. The report noted "minor" injuries to four of the crew. The report also notes that nine passengers also sustained injuries: eight classified as "minor" and one "serious." This is in contrast to press reports that had said there were no serious injuries.
The AAIB investigation is continuing.