NTSB Identification: FTW98IA019.
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Scheduled 14 CFR UNITED AIRLINES, INC.
Incident occurred Thursday, October 16, 1997 in SEATTLE, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/04/1998
Aircraft: Boeing 757-222, registration: N581UA
Injuries: 196 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.
As the airplane was rotated for liftoff from Seattle, the captain noticed that the EICAS (engine indication and crew alerting system) 'EMERGENCY DOOR' light had illuminated. According to the Airplane Fight Manual, if pressurization is normal (and it was), the crew need not take further action. During the descent for landing, a flight attendant said she heard a loud noise from the left side of the airplane. The airplane landed uneventfully at Denver. Inspection disclosed the left off-wing slide had separated from the airplane, causing minor damage to the access door, flap, and fuselage skin. The slide had been routinely replaced the previous evening by a mechanic using a flashlight and referencing the airplane maintenance manuals. After installing the slide, the mechanic closed the panel and placed the actuator handle in the horizontal position (as per instructions placarded on the maintenance access door). He said he had never received any training for installing the off-wing slide. There have been four similar incidents since the airplane entered commercial service, prompting the manufacturer to issue Service Bulletin (S.B.) 757-25-0182.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be: Maintenance personnel's failure to properly secure the left off-wing slide door after routine slide replacement, allowing an inflight separation of the slide. Factors were inadequate training of maintenance personnel and inadequate written instructions by the airplane manufacturer. Full narrative available
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