September 20, 2013 8:52 am -

487405-air-crash… and it’s a big one:

The malfunction of two evacuation slides after the Asiana Flight 214 crash in San Francisco in July added drama to the emergency. Now, NBC reports its investigation shows that the unreliability of inflatable slides has long been known by the U.S. government.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, only two of the Asiana Boeing 777’s eight emergency slides properly deployed outside the plane after the crash. Two slides inflated inside the cabin, pinning flight attendants and forcing other crew members to deflate them with an ax. That malfunction delayed passenger evacuations. Two of the 307 passengers died in the crash.

“I remember vividly, a family, a husband and wife, holding their kids … and just falling off,” passenger Ben Levy, one of the last ones to make it off the plane, told NBC.

An investigation by NBC discovered that the National Transportation Safety Board has been raising concerns over evacuation slides’ reliability with the Federal Aviation Administration for years. A study the board conducted in 2000 found that at least one evacuation slide did not properly function 37 percent of the time. Former FAA investigator David Soucie told NBC that the agency’s recommendations for improvements were unfulfilled.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.