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National News

June 30, 2014

Plane's evacuation slide deploys mid-flight

CHICAGO (AP) — An evacuation slide inflated inside a United Airlines plane as it flew from Chicago to Southern California, filling part of the cabin and prompting the pilot to make an emergency landing in Kansas, a passenger said Monday.

Mike Schroeder, 58, said he heard a hiss and pop. Schroeder said he turned around and saw the plane’s evacuation slide starting to inflate.

United Airlines officials said in a statement Monday that no one aboard Flight 1463 was injured.

The pilot announced that the plane had not lost cabin pressure and that he was looking for a place to land; a couple of minutes later the pilot said they would be landing at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport. The plane went into what Schroeder described as “a steep decline,” but the landing was uneventful. The plane was escorted to the terminal by a fire truck.

Christen David, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based airline, said the slide “accidentally deployed” and that all 96 passengers were seated when the slide inflated. The airline provided passengers with hotel rooms and planned a flight Monday morning from Wichita to California.

United’s maintenance team will inspect the aircraft to find out what happened, David said.

Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said agency investigators were at the scene in Wichita, but that the investigation would take weeks. She did not have further information.

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