United plane diverted after emergency slide inflates in cabin during flight

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by CBS News

khou.com

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 8:09 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 30 at 8:15 AM

A United Airlines plane heading to Los Angeles from Chicago was diverted to Wichita, Kan. after an emergency slide inflated in the aircraft during the flight.

United Airlines flight 1463 landed at Mid-Continent Airport just after 10:30 p.m. local time on Sunday.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman told CBS Wichita affiliate KWCH-TV an emergency evacuation slide "inadvertently deployed" in mid-flight.

Initial reports that a passenger tried to open a door during the flight were false. The FAA spokesman said it is "impossible to open a door at that altitude."

According to FlightAware.com, the plane was flying at 38,000 ft. at 10:05 p.m and dropped to 11,000 ft. in 12 minutes due to a loss in cabin pressure.

United Airlines released a statement saying 96 passengers and five crew members were on board the Boeing 737-700. All passengers were seated at the time the slide deployed and no one was hurt, the carrier says.

Passengers were taken off the plane about an hour after it landed, reports KWCH. United said another plane was to take the passengers to their final destinations and was expected to leave early Monday morning.

Mike Schroeder, who was flying back home to California, told KWCH he heard a hiss and a pop, then saw the slide starting to expand.

"We've been flying for years, I've never seen this before," Schroeder said. The crew also said they'd never experienced a similar incident.

A United Airlines maintenance crew was inspecting the plane to determine the cause.

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