LAX-bound Delta flight makes emergency return to NYC after evacuation slide falls off plane

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Saturday, April 27, 2024
LAX-bound flight returns to NYC after emergency slide falls off plane
A Delta flight bound for Los Angeles returned to John F. Kennedy Airport after an emergency slide located above one of the plane's wings fell off the aircraft.

NEW YORK (KABC) -- A Delta flight bound for Los Angeles returned to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport on Friday morning after an emergency slide located above one of the plane's wings fell off the aircraft.

Delta Airlines Flight 520 declared an emergency and returned safely to the airport around 8:35 a.m. after the crew reported a vibration, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

After takeoff, the crew observed a "flight deck indication related to the right wing emergency exit slide, as well as a non-routine sound from near the right wing," Delta said in a statement.

"After the aircraft had safely landed and proceeded to a gate, it was observed that the emergency slide had separated from the aircraft," a spokesperson said. "Delta is fully supporting retrieval efforts and will fully cooperate in investigations"

There were 176 passengers, two pilots and five flight attendants on board.

Air traffic control audio obtained by Eyewitness News captured when the pilot communicated that the plane was heading back to JFK.

"Delta 520, yeah we got an indication that the right wing flight latch on the door, one of the latches is showing an open indication. So yeah, we plan on returning back to Kennedy and having them take a look at it," the pilot said.

"We are starting to get a little bit of a vibration on that right side. We're not declaring an emergency at this time, but we'd like to [inaudible] return back to Kennedy as soon as possible."

The flight returned to JFK Airport, the passengers were switched to a new plane, and their flight departed at 10:59 a.m. Eastern Time -- about three hours behind schedule.

"As nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and people, Delta flight crews enacted their extensive training and followed procedures to return to JFK," a Delta spokesperson said in a statement. "We appreciate their professionalism and our customers' patience for the delay in their travels."

The aircraft was removed from service while Delta teams evaluate the plane.

Passengers later landed safely at LAX just before 2 p.m.

Some of them said they heard the sound but weren't sure what it was. One passenger told Eyewitness News she was right above the right-side wing when the emergency slide fell off.

"It just sounded like things hitting the side of the plane ... something was not right," Ayoka Lucas said. "So we were all just looking around at each other knowing it didn't sound right."

The FAA said it will investigate.

New York's WABC-TV contributed to this report.