When their plane crash-landed at the Dubai airport, sliding on its belly to a halt before going up in flames, some of the passengers on the Emirates flight tried to pull out their bags from overhead bins despite the emergency.
“Laptop, laptop,” a passenger can be heard saying; the amateur video shows others reaching for their luggage, ignoring the crisis conditions.
A video uploaded on social media reflects the chaos as the plane’s crew shouted at passengers to use the emergency chutes to flee. Moments later, the plane would be wrecked by explosions and then a fire in which a local firefighter was killed.
There were nearly 300 people on board, most of them from Kerala. “Chute, chute, chute,” a woman flight attendant shouts. “Jump the slide, jump the slide,” she urges asking passengers to forget their bags.
After the Boeing 777 caught fire, the world’s busiest airport was closed for several hours.
Investigators will scour the wreckage and interview pilots, controllers and witnesses for clues to any technical malfunctions, human error or weather-related problems.
Judging by footage of the aircraft’s intact tail section, where the ‘black box’ flight recorders are located, vital voice and data recordings should be retrievable.
According to specialist aviation weather reports, at the time of the accident temperatures at Dubai International airport were up to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) and wind shear – a potentially hazardous condition involving sudden and unpredictable changes in wind direction or speed – was indicated on the airport’s runways.